The Los Angeles Lakers dropped Game 1 on the road against the Phoenix Suns, 99-90, after another lackluster performance on both ends of the floor.
Dennis Schroder kicked things off for the Lakers, knocking down a pull-up jumper and earning an early trip to the free throw line. LeBron James followed with a pair of 3-pointers, but Deandre Ayton and the Suns responded to tie the game at 15.
Chris Paul and Devin Booker began to carve up the Laker defense as they pushed the basketball in transition, resulting in an 11-0 Suns run. James was able to find Montrezl Harrell twice in the final minute for easy baskets, but Los Angeles found themselves trailing 32-25 after one.
The Lakers continued to struggle defensively as they had little answer for the Suns early offense, but things took a turn for the worst when Paul looked like he injured his neck/shoulder area. After Paul left the game, Harrell went right back to work dominating the paint as he was able to finish through traffic and earn foul calls to get Los Angeles within three.
Paul eventually returned the game, but Los Angeles earned a break as Ayton committed his third personal foul that sent him back to the bench. Anthony Davis finally started to get more involved as the team downsized, but the Lakers would go into the half down 53-45.
Much like the first half, Los Angeles struggled to contain Phoenix’s offense as they allowed them to hit open threes and could not make up the difference on the other end. The Suns were able to execute the same actions to perfection, and with the Lakers failing to adjust they went down 15.
L.A. went on a much-needed 8-0 run after stringing together a few stops and brought the deficit back to single digits. However, the Lakers went cold from the field and as a result, found themselves staring at an 81-68 hole going into the final period.
Things got heated on the floor after Alex Caruso took exception to a bump from Cameron Payne, while James appeared to hurt his shoulder after being held down by Paul. Payne was ejected, but L.A. had trouble containing Paul and Booker who kept Phoenix well ahead.
Ayton was also a problem for the Lakers as he outworked them for offensive rebounds that led to the Suns increasing their lead to 13 before a Caruso triple. However, Los Angeles could not buy an open look down the stretch and a Jae Crowder jumper put the game away.
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