It’s been a rough week for the Los Angeles Lakers. After losing to the Houston Rockets, 134-95, on Wednesday night, the Lakers (10-14) returned home Friday to host the Phoenix Suns (6-16) in hopes of snapping its four-game losing streak.
Los Angeles leads the season series 1-0 after defeating the Suns 119-108 at STAPLES Center on Nov. 26. The Lakers continue to deal with injuries as Tarik Black (ankle) is the latest player to join the list of players that are out.
Luke Walton continues to try different starting lineups — his fourth in the last four games — with players that are available. Jordan Clarkson was inserted into the starting lineup tonight at the point guard spot, joining Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov.
Here’s our quarter-by-quarter recap from tonight’s game.
Jordan Clarkson scored the first two points of the game. Randle was fouled on a layup, converting the three-point play to give the Lakers an early 9-4 lead.
Eric Bledsoe started to get going offensively, igniting a 9-0 Suns run to regain the lead. The Suns jumped out to a 21-16 lead.
Lou Williams, the league’s No. 1 bench scorer (34 PPG), entered the game around the six-minute mark and scored eight points to give the team the cut the Sun’s lead to one, 25-24. As close as the Lakers got, they couldn’t get stops on the defensive end.
An Alex Len dunk off a Leandro Barbosa drive and dish put the Suns up 32-26 after one. Williams led the team with eight points. The Lakers shot 42.9% (9-of-21) from the field.
Larry Nance Jr. opened up the quarter with a mid-range jumper. Williams’ patented go-to jumper drifting to the left tied the game at 36, but a Leandro Barbosa 3-pointer put the Suns up three, forcing Walton called his first timeout of the game.
After the timeout, both teams traded baskets keeping the lead within one for a few minutes before a Bledsoe three gave the Suns a 50-46 lead. Jared Dudley’s three-pointer (the Suns’ seventh) extended the lead, 58-50.
Before the half, Bledsoe went coast-to-coast for the layup to give the Suns its first double-digit lead in the game, 62-52. The Suns’ 62 is the most points they have scored in the first half this season. They shot 36.8 percent (7-of-19) from behind the arc. Bledsoe led all scorers with 20 points. Barbosa was the Suns’ second leading scorer with 11.
Williams was the Lakers’ leading scorer with 12. The team also committed seven turnovers.
Mozgov started the quarter with a layup, but Marquese Chriss scored five consecutive points and the Suns extended their lead to five, 64-59, forcing Walton to call another timeout less than three minutes into the quarter.
The Lakers tried to rally back but couldn’t manage to get stops on the defensive end. Phoenix extended its lead to 18. Nance Jr intercepted a pass and was fouled on the layup to complete the three-point play in hopes of cutting the lead to single digits.
Despite missing his first five shots from the three-point line, Devin Booker hit his first triple of the game to keep that double-digit cushion. Nance Jr followed up with a tip-dunk off a Randle miss as Earl Watson called a timeout.
After the timeout, Williams hit back-to-back threes to cut the lead to single digits. Two Randle free throws cut the Suns’ deficit to seven. Williams started to get it going offensively, hitting his third three of the quarter to finish the quarter with 24 points with the Lakers down 89-90.
Williams scored four points and the Lakers were within five, forcing Watson to call another timeout less than a minute in. Dudley answered with a three of his own, followed by a 3-pointer by Brandon Knight and the five-point deficit quickly turned into nine points.
The Lakers would once again cut the deficit to five off a Huertas three, but it quickly turned to 10 after an Alex Len dunk. Once again, a Williams triple cut the Suns’ lead to five, but buckets by Bledsoe and Barbosa pushed it back to nine.
Booker (15 points) fouled out with 3:49 and was given a technical foul. Barbosa (21 points) continued to fill the scoring void with Booker on the bench. A Randle slam ignited the crowd.
Following his second field goal of the game, Ingram knocked down two free throws to cut the Lakers’ deficit to three.
Down five, Ingram hit a corner three with 17.3 seconds to put the Lakers within two. Knight was immediately fouled and made both free throws. Walton called a timeout.
The Lakers couldn’t get a three and settled for a Clarkson layup. Bledsoe’s free throws made it a two-possession game.
Bledsoe finished the game with 30 points. The Suns shot 43.3% (13-of-30) from the 3-point line.
Lou Williams finished with 35 points and five rebounds. This was his third game scoring 35 points or more.
Final: Phoenix Suns 119, Los Angeles Lakers 115