This one didn’t even feel like a contest. The Lakers didn’t stand a chance as they were smashed by the Phoenix Suns, 130-104.
When I did the game preview, we learned that LeBron James and Austin Reaves weren’t playing in addition to Anthony Davis already being out. Well, about 45 before gametime, Russell Westbrook was deemed to be out. And on the other side, Phoenix had Deandre Ayton available, who missed the last two Suns games. Devin Booker was out but Chris Paul was available. Still, it was almost like the game was lost before it even started.
The Lakers did get off to a nice start and led, 13-10. But then Paul calmed the situation down for Phoenix and led them to a 18-1 spurt. After that, the Suns never really looked back. The Suns extended the lead to 68-44 by halftime.
Los Angeles did put up a bit of a fight in the third quarter. After being down 26, the Lakers were able to trim the deficit down to 15, 13, and 14 on different occasions in the period. But the Suns would stop each rally pretty quickly; the Lakers just didn’t have enough ammunition other than Dennis Schröder. The white flag was pretty much waved at the start of the fourth. Even Patrick Beverley didn’t do anything that would get people talking.
The Suns just busted the Lakers up inside. With no Anthony Davis, the Suns took advantage of that by outrebounding them, 51-38. Normally, the Lakers get it done inside the paint but the Suns had more points inside, 40-34. The Lakers did make more threes than the first match-up (12) but Phoenix was even better as they sank 20 three-pointers.
Chris Paul did his job by getting 28 points and 8 assists for Phoenix. Deandre Ayton had 21 points and 11 rebounds. Mikal Bridges had a steady 20 points and Torrey Craig had 17 huge points.
For the Lakers, it felt like was it was only Dennis Schröder getting the buckets. He ended up with 30 points. Kendrick Nunn scored 17 though he got them mostly in garbage time. Thomas Bryant and Lonnie Walker IV each scored 16. It was nice to see Max Christie get a lot of PT for the second game in a row although he shot badly (1 out of 9). It was also great to see Scotty Pippen, Jr. see some action (14 minutes). He had two blocks that didn’t count but his chasedown rejections were very reminiscent of his father’s (who made those types of blocks before LeBron James made them famous).
So this felt like a throwaway game. The Lakers are down to 13-17. They go to Northern California as they face the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday (they’ve already faced them one before and it didn’t go well). Hopefully, the guys that are shaken up have enough rest to give it a go. Anyway, the Lakers are going to forget about this game and move on to the next one.