The Lakers did take the floor on Thursday and a contest did happen, but it was never much of a game against the Suns as Phoenix controlled from start to finish to earn a 127-109 victory.
Anthony Davis had a slow start to the game and never picked it up, finishing with 13 points with five rebounds and two blocks. LeBron James was focused on getting his teammates involved and ended the game with nine assists to go with his 10 points, five rebounds, and one steal.
D’Angelo Russell led the team in scoring with 19 points and six assists off the bench as he found his groove. Austin Reaves tallied 13. Max Christie had 14 points and seven rebounds, a chunk of that coming in garbage time.
The Suns’ Big 3 of Bradley Beal (37), Devin Booker (31) and Kevin Durant (18) combined for 86 points in their first action together against the Lakers this season.
The Suns came out scorching hot, making their first two 3-pointers. They ended up going 5-8 from behind the arc to quickly grab an eight-point lead. Taurean Prince knocked down a 3-pointer to bring it within four, but the Suns answered back. The Lakers were playing lackadaisical and the Suns took full advantage of it, extending their lead to 11. Although the Suns' lead jumped to 17, the Lakers were able to get it back to 11 to end the quarter.
Lebron threaded the needle to a cutting AR pic.twitter.com/wJy9kRzai5— Swish Cultures (@swishcultures_) January 12, 2024
The second quarter saw mixed Jaxson Hayes minutes and a Jarred Vanderbilt 3-pointer that helped the Lakers get the Suns’ lead down to six. Any small positive minutes quickly became negative as Hayes picked up four fouls in four minutes. The Suns answered back in a huge way extending their lead to 14.
The Lakers were able to stick around, but Devin Booker took over the game and was up to 23 points in the first half. The lead was up to 16 with two minutes left after a pull-up midrange shoot by Booker and they led by 14 at halftime, 66-52.
Halftime: Suns 66, Lakers 52— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) January 12, 2024
No Laker is in double figures yet. Anthony Davis has 9 points. LeBron James, Austin Reaves and Taurean Prince each have 8. Both teams are struggling from beyond the arc (LA is shooting 29.4%; PHX is shooting 28.6%). Devin Booker has 23 points.
A pair of 3-pointers had Phoenix take a 17-point lead to start the third quarter. A Taurean three stopped some bleeding. Throughout these three quarters, the Suns’ lead kept hoovering between 13 to 17. The Lakers weren’t finding consistency to pick up momentum.
Booker was fouled behind the arc and made his free throws to make it a 20-point lead. The Suns’ momentum was starting to get fiery and their lead was extended to 23. A pair of KD free throws and a Bradley Beal shot extended it to 27. The fake comeback Lakers were alive and cut the lead to 22 and were immediately dead with the Suns going up 29.
The fourth quarter was much of the same with the Suns adding to their lead, but newly acquired Laker Skylar Mays came in and provided a fun, hopeful spark for the fake comeback Lakers.
Bradley Beal put the finishing touches on this game with a 3-pointer that felt like it was worth 40 points.
We have yet another game where the Lakers leave opposing players open from behind the arc. Teams know that the Lakers can’t guard the three so they take advantage of it, which in turn has the Lakers having to fight back all game.
This was the first time this season the Lakers saw the Suns’ big three and it went exactly how we’d think. They were cooking the Lakers all night. The Lakers couldn’t defend them to save their lives.
The Lakers’ next game is on Saturday against the Utah Jazz at 6:30 PM PT.
You can follow Karin on Twitter at @KarinAbcarians.