Carmelo Anthony made his debut in purple and gold, but for the second straight game, it was Malik Monk making a statement for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Monk again led the Lakers in scoring with 18 points, including four 3-pointers while Anthony added eight, but the Lakers dropped their second straight preseason game to the Phoenix Suns, 117-105.
LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and Trevor Ariza sat out for the second straight contest and were joined by Dwight Howard on this night.
Anthony looked as good as advertised, especially in the first quarter getting some easy buckets in the midrange and post just as he has for years. Though he finished just 4-of-10 overall, he was able to generate plenty of great looks.
Anthony Davis had some highs and lows but finished with a solid night overall with 14 points, eight rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks. Davis undoubtedly had some highlight moments on both ends of the floor, though he did again struggle at the free-throw line, shooting just 3-of-6 while the rest of the team went 12-of-13.
The biggest issue for the Lakers on this night came on the defensive end and especially the glass. In addition to some unfortunate breakdowns on that end of the floor, the Lakers regularly failed to clear the glass and end the possession. Overall the Lakers were outrebounded 52-40 by the Suns and allowed 12 offensive rebounds to Phoenix, including four each to Deandre Ayton and Jalen Smith.
The Lakers kept things close in the first quarter but were dominated in the middle two stanzas, being outscored by Phoenix 75-53.
The Lakers’ other young guards looked solid as well as Talen Horton-Tucker and Kendrick Nunn each finished with 11 points and three rebounds in the contest. Horton-Tucker also added three assists but struggled to take care of the ball with five of the Lakers’ 17 turnovers.
Wayne Ellington, who got the start for L.A., finished with five points and six rebounds while DeAndre Jordan added six points and seven rebounds off the bench. Kent Bazemore also added six points while Rajon Rondo was in facilitator mode with four points and five assists.
Austin Reaves showed why the Lakers signed him to their 14th roster spot with 10 points and three assists while also going a perfect 5-of-5 from the free-throw line. Chaundee Brown also made a strong case in earning the franchise’s open two-way contract finishing with nine points and three rebounds in just eight minutes.
Next up for the Lakers
The Lakers preseason continues with a trip to the Bay Area for an opening night preview against the Golden State Warriors on Friday night before returning home for a pair of rematches against the Suns on Sunday and the Warriors again on Tuesday.
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