After a 102-83 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Saturday, the Los Angeles Lakers traveled to Phoenix to face the Suns. While most thought the Suns were tanking, they have been one of the biggest surprises this season with a 16-10 record. With Pau Gasol back in the lineup after dealing with an upper-respiratory infection, the Lakers looked to earn their 14th win of the season and get back to the .500 mark.
Both teams got off to a slow start, but the Lakers once again gave up early offensive rebounds and couldn’t defend without fouling. The Suns made all their free-throws to give themselves a 17-9 lead midway through the quarter. While the Lakers’ bench looked to provide energy, they didn’t fare much better as the offensive rebounds and fouls continued. At one point in the quarter, Miles Plumlee was out rebounding the entire Lakers team by himself, 8-5. After the first, the Lakers gave up six offensive rebounds and 17 free-throws, but somehow found themselves only down by four.
The Lakers’ bench came out very flat to start the quarter as Gerald Green converted two threes to give the Suns a 12 point lead. After the timeout, the Lakers had another response to cut the lead back down to four midway through the quarter. While the Lakers tried to stay competitive, the Suns made numerous threes and established a 16 point lead with two minutes remaining. At the half, the Lakers trailed 64-51 despite 25 points combined from Pau Gasol and Nick Young.
To start the second half, Gasol came out aggressive but couldn’t convert his shots as the Suns were able to get their shots around the rim. With no energy on both ends of the court, the Suns established a 20-point lead midway through the quarter. While the Lakers tried to make another run, they couldn’t cut into the lead as they trailed 90-68 after three.
The Lakers came out with good energy to cut the deficit to 14. However, Gerald Green converted on his fifth three of the game to quickly push the lead back to 17 and the Lakers couldn’t recover as the deficit hovered around 20 points. With the game out of reach, both teams emptied their benches as the Lakers suffered their second straight loss and fell two games below the .500 mark.
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