The depleted Lakers got blown out by the Phoenix Suns, 130-104, on Monday night. With no LeBron James, Austin Reaves, Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis or Juan Toscano-Anderson, the Lakers’ chances of beating Phoenix on the road on the second night of a back-to-back were slim to none, and they were never in the game.
In a forgettable game, there were few, if any, positive aspects. Dennis Schröder led all Lakers with 30 points, and Kendrick Nunn had the most points off the bench with 17. With the game out of reach since essentially the first quarter, it’s hard to see anything from tonight’s game that can be used to build off of.
L.A. never had a chance and barely ever had a lead. They were up by seven after a couple of Beverley baskets early in the first quarter and that was it. From there on out, it was a Phoenix Suns clinic, with Chris Paul scoring 9 points in the first and ending the night with 28 points, and players like Bismack Biyombo looking like Hakeem Olajuwon on defense.
In the second quarter, Biyombo was especially impressive with back-to-back blocks, including one on Beverely that excited a Phoenix crowd that clearly still remembers Pat Bev’s push on CP3 in the playoffs back in 2021.
The second half might as well have been a Summer League game. Benches cleared, defense was absent and players just tried to get buckets. But even with defense at a minimum, L.A. struggled to string together any offensive production besides a brief run midway through the third that didn’t even cut the lead to under 12. Just one of those nights where the team was too undermanned to win or even make it interesting.
The Lakers are now 13-17 and the last time they were victorious against the Phoenix Suns was Game 3 of the 2021 NBA playoffs.
Wanna feel old? This is the last time the Lakers beat the Suns in any preseason, postseason or regular season basketball game. pic.twitter.com/vcLixIiBhp— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) December 20, 2022
The biggest takeaway from tonight’s game is that if your team is sub-.500 and four of your eight best players are out, you will not be winning that game. Other than that, today was about getting reps for young players, hoping vets like Beverley and Kendrick Nunn can get going offensively, and getting the injured players some rest. If health is, in fact, wealth, then the Lakers are currently poverty-stricken and need to get as close to full strength as possible for Wednesday’s game against the Sacramento Kings.
In the meantime, injury updates on Reaves, James, and Westbrook will be the most important news to keep an eye out for over the hours and days to come.