Winners of three straight, the Los Angeles Lakers hit the road on Tuesday night facing a tough division opponent in the Phoenix Suns.
Both teams were without their leaders as LeBron James missed his fifth straight game while Chris Paul missed his seventh. The Lakers have been trending in the right direction though and the Suns have struggled, but that momentum flipped in this one with L.A. suffering a 115-105 defeat to fall to 5-11 on the season.
It was a sloppy start for both teams until Mikal Bridges hit a 3 to give his team an early lead although Austin Reaves responded with a three-point play to tie it back up.
Lonnie Walker IV was also aggressive getting to the bucket early for L.A. with six of the team’s first 11 points. Likewise, Bridges had three early buckets for the Suns with a pair of triples.
The two stars that did play, Anthony Davis and Devin Booker, began to heat up towards the end of the first quarter exchanging some buckets with the Kings leading 26-22 through one.
Thomas Bryant checked in for the first time to begin the second quarter and immediately went to work with four straight buckets and a block for L.A.
The Lakers’ biggest issue in the first half was shooting as they failed to knock down their first six 3-point attempts while Phoenix was at 50% to take its first double-digit lead. Russell Westbrook finally got a 3 to go for the Lakers midway through the second quarter.
Despite an injury scare for Davis after hitting his arm on Booker’s head, he was able to stay in the game and lead a Laker run to end the half. L.A. was playing great defense, allowing Westbrook, Reaves and Walker to get out in transition for some easy buckets.
The Lakers closed the half on an 18-6 run to take a 55-53 lead into the locker room.
Just like they were to begin the game, the Lakers came out sloppy in the third quarter allowing the Suns to begin on a 12-2 run.
Once again though it was Davis’ dominance on both ends of the floor that got the Lakers back in it. Credit to the Suns bench for hitting a few timely 3s to allow Phoenix to take an 86-79 lead into the fourth.
The Lakers continued to combust with turnovers to begin the fourth quarter. That allowed the Suns to build their lead back to double-digits, making a comeback awfully tough for L.A. with the way they were shooting the ball.
The two teams got into a bit of an altercation with the Lakers trailing by 10 with four minutes to go. Reaves was fouled by Booker and then Deandre stood over him taunting. Patrick Beverley then came flying in and checked Ayton, resulting in him being ejected with the two Suns players picking up technicals.
That allowed a four-point possession for the Lakers to get within six although that was as close as they would get in the loss.
Davis had another dominant night for L.A., finishing with 37 points, 21 rebounds, two assists, five steals and five blocks.
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