The legendary King James shined to help the Lakers win a dramatic victory over the Suns 122 – 119
Friday evening marked the conclusion of the Los Angeles Lakers’ inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament journey as they faced the Phoenix Suns.
Achieving their first victory of the year, the Lakers defeated the Suns 122-119, with the return of Anthony Davis into the lineup following a one-game absence. The victory undoubtedly maintains the Lakers’ chances of winning Group A with three games remaining.
Cam Reddish was substituted for Austin Reaves in an effort to provide the Lakers with a more substantial lineup, as decided by Darvin Ham. Reddish achieved an early success as he stole the ball and subsequently made a corner three-pointer. A 13-7 lead early in the game was sufficient to justify the Lakers’ personnel adjustment, considering their sluggish start.
Bradley Beal helped Phoenix maintain a fight in its second game following his return from a back injury and went off to a hot start. The Lakers’ early lead was abruptly erased when Kevin Durant started executing a three-point play.
The Suns gained momentum and extended their lead to double digits for the first time, causing the Lakers to struggle offensively and lose their energy level in the process.
After LeBron James appeared to have initially injured his leg, Los Angeles eventually trailed 34-25 entering the second quarter. He was eventually able to return, and his playmaking, along with that of Austin Reaves, helped the Lakers regain momentum.
Nevertheless, the Suns maintained a double-digit lead despite the Lakers’ inability to prevent offensive glass turnovers, a pattern that has persisted throughout the season.
In the first half, aside from a few attempts from Taurean Prince and D’Angelo Russell, the Lakers were apathetic. Consequently, Los Angeles entered the intermission locker room trailing 63-55 following a Beal layup at the buzzer, as James entered an offensive trance to close the second quarter.
Jusuf Nurkic responded with five consecutive points, narrowing the deficit to four points, after Davis opened the third quarter with a quick bucket. James then made a brace at the line to regain the lead.
Following that, LeBron James became extremely effective with consecutive three-pointers, exerting every effort to keep the Lakers within striking distance. Russell, who assisted teammates such as Davis in converting easy baskets, maintained his impressive evening.
Durant drilled consecutive three-pointers and a three-point play to extend the Phoenix lead to double digits just as it appeared that the Lakers were gaining ground. Reddish’s 3-pointer after the buzzer thankfully dropped the Lakers into the fourth quarter trailing 96-79.
James assisted Reddish in making a transition layup for Rui Hachimura, and the Lakers inexplicably took the lead for the first time since the first quarter when he assisted Reaves on a transition three-pointer.
Reddish added a third-and-final point after a Suns timeout, and Eric Gordon completed the run with a floater. The Lakers’ lead was increased to five with the assistance of Christian Wood’s third triple, which compelled Frank Vogel to call another timeout.
With some crucial buckets, Durant assisted the Suns in regaining momentum and preserving a thrilling conclusion to the game.
Reddish converted an additional colossal corner triple with one minute remaining to give his team a 118-113 lead over the Lakers, who labored to contain Durant in the midrange.
Prince then completed a layup to put the game on ice after the Lakers obtained the necessary stop.