From the jump, the Lakers decided to go with their now patented "Oprah" defense, which consists of ushering their opponents into either a wide open layup or three while yelling "You get a basket! And You Get A Basket! YOU ALL GET BASKETS!!!!", but the Suns missed some easy shots and the Lakers used their 5 offensive rebounds and 13 free throws in the first quarter to keep things close, with Ed Davis alone grabbing 7 rebounds (11 for the game) and taking 4 free throws in the frame.
The Lakers took the lead in the second quarter, but the Suns battled back to tie despite shooting only 43.9% from the field, mostly due to their missing open shots rather than anything the Lakers were doing. Goran Dragic (16 points on 7-10 shooting) led the way for Phoenix as the first half's primary beneficiary of the Lakers' turnstile defenders. The Lakers shot 40% in the first half, but took 10 more free throws than the Suns in order to keep themselves competitive.
The Suns finally started to pull away from the Lakers in the third quarter, getting out in transition (even with some help from the refs!) and outscoring the Lakers 36-26 in the period to take a 87-77 lead into the final frame. This would prove to be decisive, as the Lakers would fall even further behind after playing Ryan Kelly at small forward, and matching him up on Gerald Green, unsurprisingly came back to bite the Lakers when the Suns opened up to a 19 point lead in the first five minutes of the fourth and looked to have put this one in the refrigerator. The Lakers were not dead yet however, as Nick Young (24 points, 7-12 shooting, 4 threes, and even 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals) swag-sploded for 16 straight points, and the Lakers cut the Suns lead to as close as 6 after Jordan Hill hit a mid-range jumper. It was ultimately not enough to stop the tank, with the Suns scoring 6 straight of their own to come out with a victory, and give LA a slight nudge closer to holding on to the draft pick they would be forced to relinquish to Phoenix should it fall outside of the top five.
In the positive column for the Lakers, other than Nick Young getting out of his recent funk, was rookie guard Jordan Clarkson getting some extended burn (17 minutes), and while he struggled from the field, going 2-7 for 6 points, he at least had the opportunity to get some floor time to learn from mistakes and let the front office evaluate his future prospects (and hammer home this nice dunk). Jeremy Lin also showed signs of life for the first time in a few games, but while his numbers were okay (10 points and 10 assists on 4-9 shooting) he also spent a lot of time on Eric Bledsoe, who erupted for 24 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists. The Lakers fell again without Kobe, and remain to look pretty bad with or without him. Byron Scott's squad will next play on Wednesday and look to bounce back against the possibly Jrue Holiday and Anthony Davis-less New Orleans Pelicans team. As always, thanks for reading and see you there.