The Los Angeles Lakers looked to finish the week off strong with three consecutive wins. After their 20-point rout against the Golden State Warriors on Friday night, many, including head coach Luke Walton, thought the team would come out lackadaisical Sunday night against the Suns.
Both the Lakers and Suns were coming off big wins. Despite the Lakers’ upset, Devin Booker hit a baseline buzzer beater in overtime against the Pelicans. Booker, who’s one of the NBA’s emerging young stars, can be a problem for defenders once he sees a couple shots go in.
As the game tipped, it was as if the Lakers put Friday night’s win behind them. Here’s a quarter recap from tonight’s game.
The Lakers started with D’Angelo Russell, Nick Young, Julius Randle, Luol Deng and Timofey Mozogv. Young continued his stellar play on the defensive end and got his first two points of the game after getting a steal on the Suns’ first possession.
Randle scored his first four points after a layup on the fast break and two free throws. The Suns scored after T.J. Warren and Tyson connected on an alley-oop. A Deng three would give the Lakers a 9-3, forcing Suns head coach Earl Watson to call a timeout.
After the timeout, Phoenix came out on an 8-0 run as Jared Dudley and Booker made a couple baskets to give the Suns a 12-11 lead. The lead was quickly diminished due to Randle becoming the Lakers’ facilitator hitting his patented mid-range jumper.
The staters came out and reserves — Lou Williams, Jordan Clarkson, Brandon Ingram, Larry Nance Jr and Tarik Black — matched the starters’ play and extended the lead, 20-15, after an Ingram three.
Although the Suns trailed by less than 10, they played a horrible first half committing six turnovers and shooting 5-for-20 from the field.
Randle led all scorers with eight points as the Lakers had the 23-15 lead after the first quarter.
Clarkson started the second quarter with a layup and on the following way down the floor, Ingram assisted Tarik Black for an easy two to give the Lakers a 12-point lead, 27-15.
Earl Watson called another timeout after the poor play from his team (7 made field goals and 11 turnovers), but defensively, the Suns had no answer for the Lakers’ bench.
Lou Williams and Nick Young each hit threes to give the Lakers a 15-point lead. The Suns attempted to cut the deficit but couldn’t manage to contain Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson.
Booker tried to get going offensively after getting fouled on a baseline drive to the basket, completing the old fashioned three-point play. But it was T.J. Warren was the Suns’ primary scorer with 13 points.
Lou Williams continued to play his facilitator role — feeding Mozgov and Randle off pick-and-rolls or taking his defenders off the dribble.
D’Angelo Russell didn’t get on the board until under two minutes in the quarter after hitting a three off an offensive rebound.
The Lakers’ bench played a key role in the first half, outscoring the Suns, 25-1. The team shot 47.8% the field and 38.5% from behind the arc. Randle led all scorers with 12 points as the Lakers led at halftime, 54-43.
The Lakers continued to start the second half on a good note as D’Angelo Russell fed Mozgov for a three-point play. Jared Dudley tried to rally his team with a three pointer. On the next possession, Booker connected on two free throws followed by a mid-range jumper to cut the lead the lead to nine.
A T.J. Warren jumper cut the Suns’ deficit to seven, but a Luol Deng three put the lead back to 10. Both teams kept trading baskets and the double-digit deficit was cut to five.
The bench unit came back in and continued to match the starters’ play like they did in the first half. Lou Williams hit a basket over Booker and Ingram made two free throws. Tarik Black also had a put-back dunk that seemed to ignite the team and STAPLES Center crowd.
Brandon Ingram continues to get acclimated to the NBA game and it’s showing each and every time he’s on the floor. During one sequence, he got a block and was rewarded for his defensive play on the break to give the Lakers an 80-70 lead and forcing Watson to call another timeout.
After a Nick Young three, Devin Booker hit a step-back jumper over Ingram and took him to the basket on the ensuing play to try to cut the deficit. Alex Len got a dunk before the horn went off as the Suns trailed after the third quarter, 83-76.
The Suns came out on an 8-0 run after Devin Booker hit another jumper and the Suns trailed by five. Booker extended the run to 11-0 (scoring nine of those 11) after hitting a 3-pointer off the inbounds play and to make it a two-point game.
Lou Williams, who’s been amazing at creating contact, was fouled shooting from deep, making all three to push the lead to 86-81.
As both teams traded baskets, a Leandro Barbosa layup cut the Suns’ deficit again to two. Booker got fouled on a drive, completing the three-point play to get the suns within one, 93-92. The Suns had plenty of opportunities to take the lead but couldn’t capitalize.
Jordan Clarkson hit a 17-foot jumper and Nick Young hit a 3-pointer and was fouled to complete the four-point play. The Lakers would go back up seven. A Russell three gave the Lakers another 10-point lead.
Clarkson hit the dagger at 1:27 with a triple to put the Lakers up 107-97 and it was academic from there.
Final: Lakers 119, Suns 108