The Lakers would have liked to have a win under their belt after the first four games of the season. Being the only team to play four games in the opening week, the Lakers have seen the most action of any team in the league.
The Lakers had an opportunity Tuesday night to redeem one of their losses as they hosted the Pheonix Suns for their second meeting early in the 2014 season. The Suns outside shooting exposed the Lakers squad who going into the game was ranked 28th defending field goals beyond the arc.
Kobe Bryant had 31 points in the first contest, his largest output thus far. He would have to continue that success for the Lakers to a achieve their first win.
The usual starting five took the floor to begin the Lakers 3rd game thus far at Staples Center. Goran Dragic was active early, driving to the lane and finding an open Miles Plumlee. Dribble penetration was a key ingredient in the Suns offense. Wes Johnson matched Dragic’s intensity attacking the left baseline and drawing a foul. Wes was able to make both free throws to tie the game early. After a Jeremy Lin drive to the basket, Carlos Boozer cleaned up the loose ball with an easy layup inside. On the next Lakers possession Lin made better luck draining a corner three. Soon after, Kobe found Lin for a left handed layup as the guard made a sharp cut the the basket. Star guard Eric Bledsoe returned the favor by attacking Lin for a reverse layup. However, Lin stayed aggressive and drove to the hoop once again drawing a foul. He would hit one of two free throws. After a Boozer block, Lin found Jordan Hill on a no-look pass before Hill got fouled on a attempted dunk. Defensively, Davis checked in with the score 15-11 in favor of the Suns. Lin got another layup but could not get back on defense before Isaiah Thomas got a layup himself. After back-to-back Kobe hoops, Dragic drove to the lane for a three-point play. With 2:40 to go in the game, Lin had 8 points. Kobe wasn’t far behind hitting a three in rhythm for his seventh point. With about two minutes to go in the period, forward Ryan Kelly checked in for the first time this season. Soon after, Wayne Ellington drove to the basket for a floater. Davis attempted to set the tone for his club defensively as he sent an Isaiah Thomas layup to the stands for his first block of the game. As the quarter wrapped up, Kobe made two free throws making the score 26-24 Suns.
Jordan Clarkson saw his first action of the game to begin the second quarter. He was welcomed by Gerald Green who hit a jumper from the right baseline over the Lakers guard. With 10:30 remaining Davis recorded his second block of the game. Ellington remained a reliable scoring option hitting a jumper from about 18 feet. Davis was active on the offensive glass, cleaning up a Kelly miss and drawing a foul for a trip to the charity stripe. The Lakers woes at the line continued as Davis missed both for a total of 6-12 for the team. After a good defensive stop, Kelly hit his first shot of the season from 15 feet on the left baseline. Hill showed some discipline on the low block with a great offensive move that brought him the the free throw line. With seven minutes left Lin and Boozer came back into the game with the score 31-30 Suns. The Lakers looked stout defensively holding the Suns to a low 30% as Kobe hit his 11th point of the game. After a Boozer miss, Thomas went to the basket for an uncontested layup. Boozer missed yet another shot as Hill got the rebound, resulting in two free throws. Two straight Suns dunks did not discourage Lin as he drove to the basket to find Boozer for an easy lay-in inside. Down by 8, Ronnie Price drained a three followed by another one from Kobe. Gerald Green went to work scoring on back-to back buckets and Kobe responded with a layup and a trip to the free throw line for one more as he had 18 with 30 seconds to go in the half. After yet another Thomas layup, the Lakers went into halftime down 12 with the score 58-46.
Byron Scott’s bunch started off the third period with a Boozer fade-away from 15 feet. Markeiff Morris responded with a three-pointer before Boozer hit another jumper from the right baseline. The Lakers continued to struggle defensively as Dragic finished a layup on the fast break. After a steal on a bad Dragic pass, Kobe finished on a layup of his own, imitating Michael Jordan with an over the shoulder bucket facing away from the basket. Lin missed a corner three, but Johnson cleaned it up with an offensive tip to narrow the gap to seven. The score with over four minutes gone by was 65-58. Lin was poised on a drive to the the cup and found Boozer for his 11th point on a jumper from the free throw line. After a Kobe miss, Hill finished with a one-handed jam, but Dragic responded with a outside jumper from 17 feet to keep the Suns lead comfortable. Kobe struggled from the free throw line as he went to the stripe. Kobe was five of nine halfway through the period. Off of a Hill offensive board, he found Boozer for an easy layup. On the other end, Hill made a huge defensive play blocking Bledsoe’s layup. Thomas was relentless with yet another uncontested layup extending the Suns lead to ten. The score with 2:10 remaining was 75-69 Suns. Ellington hit a three to narrow the gap to three before Thomas went to the line for two foul shots. On a Kobe lead fast break, Ellington was the recipient of a pass that lead to one of two free throws. Despite his offensive output, Ellington got caught fouling Green for three free throw attempts. He would make two of three. To close the quarter Kobe hit a bucket inside and the score was 79-75 Suns.
Gerald Green began the period with possibly the dunk of the year over Hill. Davis scored his first baskets of the line on two free throws on the other end before Kobe got a layup on a fast break. Down two, Thomas came down the court for a three-pointer in transition. Green hit a jumper from the left baseline to extend the Suns lead to seven, but Price made a great pass to Davis inside for an easy layup to make it five. Green took seemingly took the life out of the Staples Center as a buried a corner three-pointer for his 17th point making the score 89-81. Coming out of a timeout, Byron Scott drew up a play for a wide open Kobe jumper from the top of the key. Green responded with a runner in the lane, but Kobe retaliated with a long shot form 20 feet. Hill cut the Suns lead to three converting on a three-point play. However, The Suns scored on two straight, including another Green one-handed dunk. But, Kobe was not going to quit scoring his 34th point on a three-point play of his own. The score was 95-91 with 5:32 left in the game. Six straight Lin points brought his total to 16 for the game and the Lakers were down by one with 3:43 left. A couple of Suns baskets put the lead back at five before a Kobe jumper cut it back to three. The teams traded baskets before a Kobe three cut the Suns lead to two. Bledsoe would knock down two free throws to make it a two possession game with under a minute remaining. Kobe missed a shot and PJ Tucker hit a dagger three-pointer to ice the game. The Lakers would ultimately fall 112-106.
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