The Los Angeles Lakers continued their homestand against the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night with both teams missing key players in LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Deandre Ayton.
Every game is super important for the Lakers this late in the season though, so they were in desperate need of a win. Although it wasn’t pretty, they were able to come away with a 122-111 win to snap a nine-game losing streak against the Suns.
The Suns got off to a quick 10-4 start after knocking down a pair of 3-pointers with the Lakers again looking sluggish early. Darvin Ham inserted Austin Reaves into the starting lineup for Malik Beasley and as usual, he got them going with a three-point play.
Jarred Vanderbilt also injected some life into the Lakers with a steal and three-point play out his own, tying it up at 14.
Despite 10 first-quarter points from Reaves, both offenses slowed down considerably when the second units came in. Cam Payne closed the quarter by getting to the rim for an easy bucket though, giving the Suns a 26-23 lead going into the second.
Moving to the bench may have done the trick for Beasley as got going offensively, drilling a pair of 3-pointers early in the second. The only problem was that Landry Shamet did the same for Phoenix, so the game continued to remain close.
Troy Brown Jr. had a fun spurt near the end of the quarter, drilling a 3 and then picking Devin Booker’s pocket. Booker tried to contest Brown’s dunk in transition on the other end but instead wound up on the receiving end of a poster.
That started a nice run to close the half for the Lakers with D’Angelo Russell finally starting to get going as well with a bucket and free throw. L.A. wound up going to the locker room with a 59-52 lead.
Russell picked up where he left off at the end of the first half by making a 3 to begin the third quarter and then driving for another layup. After a quiet first half due to foul trouble, Chris Paul also was aggressive looking to score for his team.
Paul wasn’t the only star to get going after a slow first half as the same could be said for Anthony Davis, who was dominating inside for much of the third quarter. Davis had 14 points in the third alone, but a poor close to the quarter by the Lakers had their lead at just three at 88-85.
With Jarred Vanderbilt in foul trouble, Booker was able to get rolling offensively. He got his team within one early in the fourth after drilling a 3.
Russell responded with a big three-point play for the Lakers out of a timeout, and then Davis scored four straight points to get the lead back to eight midway through the quarter.
The Suns were unable to keep the Lakers off the free throw line to close it out with Davis, Russell and Reaves getting there at will. With L.A. getting its lead back to double digits, that was enough to close it out and earn a much-needed victory.
Overall on the night, the Lakers went to the free throw line a ridiculous 46 times.
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