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Lakers kick off new year by surviving late comeback from Suns

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The Lakers rang in 2020 with their hottest start of the season, but couldn’t stop the Suns from making this a much closer game than it should have been.

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NBA: Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Lakers Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers got off to a really dominant start against the Phoenix Suns. How dominant? Well, they scored 43 points, their highest in any quarter of the season. They also held the Suns to just 17 points. But perhaps best epitomizing how thoroughly they appeared to have Phoenix in a chokehold was this single tweet.

Well... Things didn’t stay that way. The Suns cut what was once a 34-point lead to single digits, and while the the Lakers were able to hold on to win 117-107, they had to put LeBron James and Anthony Davis back in after it looked like they had went to the bench to rest for good, turning what looked like it was going to be a chance to give their stars some much-deserved rest into a narrow win.

LeBron James and Anthony Davis came out from the tip determined to make this an early night and pounce on an overmatched Suns team, connecting on lobs and cuts for dunks in an attempt to suffocate any hope Phoenix had entering the night. James finished the game with a 30-point, 12-assist and 13-rebound triple-double, while Davis dropped 26 points and 11 rebounds, but to their credit, the Suns never gave up.

And while some of the lead started to slip away while those stars were out there, it was truly dissolved when they went to the bench to rest at the end of the third and appeared to be done for the night. Instead, they and the rest of the starters were forced to come in and close out what should have been a blowout win as the Lakers’ lack of depth — especially when it comes to non-LeBron playmakers — was exposed again. Darren Collison can’t get here soon enough.

As if all that weren’t bad as it is, Alex Caruso exited the game with right calf tightness, something that will be worth monitoring moving forward.

Despite all those complaints, this victory still moved the Lakers to 27-7 overall, and the team has now won their last three games in a row. They’ll get a day off to figure out how to stay locked in for a full, 48-minute game before looking to keep rolling while hosting Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and the New Orleans Pelicans in their first game against Davis and the rest of the Lakers in L.A. this season. We’ll see you there.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.