The Los Angeles Lakers learned what life without LeBron James will be like on Sunday night as although they battled, they came up short against the Phoenix Suns, falling 111-94.
The Lakers got off to a predictably rough start as they had issues covering the Suns jump shooters, while on the other end had trouble getting a good look. Kyle Kuzma was able to score from the perimeter, but Phoenix continued to execute offensively and built an early 19-11 lead.
L.A. finally seemed to settled after Dennis Schroder was able to make his way to the cup for layups, while defensively they finally earned a couple of stops to close the gap. The bench unit did a good job of pushing the tempo and keeping the game competitive, but the Lakers found themselves trailing 31-26 after on quarter.
Montrezl Harrell and Alex Caruso got the Lakers within one possession on several occasions with their play on both ends, but Phoenix answered to keep them at bay. Devontae Cacok got a rare chance to enter the game, collecting an offensive rebound, putback and steal but the Suns remained comfortably ahead.
Phoenix broke open the game with a 20-5 run that was ignited by Devin Booker, who simply carved up the Los Angeles defense. Kuzma was able knock down a three in the final minutes, but the Purple and Gold went into the half down 59-44 as to no surprise, scoring was an issue without their star players.
Schroder got off to a hot shooting start in the third as he scored the first eight points for the Lakers off jumpers. Los Angeles was able to briefly bring the game to within nine points, but the Suns reeled off another run to go back up 16.
Harrell once again carried the offense, scoring at and around the basket to keep the Lakers within striking distance. The bench’s effort was admirable, but L.A. faced a 88-76 hole heading into the final period.
Los Angeles showed signs of life as Talen Horton-Tucker knifed into the lane for easy scores while defensively they strung together a couple of stops to build some momentum. Schroder ignited the Lakers with his defensive energy and scoring, willing the team back to single digits.
However, Chris Paul made sure the game never got out of hand by orchestrating the Suns’ offense and coming up with a pair of steals to give his team separation. They were then able to pull away late in the fourth to close out the victory.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!