Despite at one point being up by 18 points at one point in the 3rd quarter, the Suns beat the Lakers tonight in a nailbiter 119-115.
The Suns came out of the gates strong, taking the lead midway through the first and never relinquishing it. Alex Len had a strong first half, with 8 points (on perfect 4/4 shooting), 7 rebounds and 2 blocks. He would end the night with 14-13-5, and had undeniably the best night of any of the Young Suns.
The player of the game, however, was Eric Bledsoe. On his birthday, no less. The birthday-boy was a beast, controlling the offense (9-1 A/TO) and scoring efficiently, finishing with 30 points on 18 shots. He hit two crucial free throws down the stretch to seal the game for the Suns.
The fact that the game needed sealing, however, was a bit disheartening. After taking an 18 point lead in the 3rd, the team played increasingly sloppy. By the end of the third, it was a 9 point lead. Devin Booker (6/17 shooting, 15 points), who was having an off-night and looked oft-frustrated, was ejected late in the 4th and gave up a technical too boot. Another poor play, an offensive foul by Tyson Chandler, allowed the Lakers to bring the game to within 3 after two free-throws from Brandon Ingram.
Importantly, though, the team rallied, with late free throws from Bledsoe and Brandon Knight (14 points, 4 assists) sealed the deal.
The Lakers were led by Lou Williams, who finished the game with 35 points and 5 rebounds off the bench. Luol Deng (6 points, 11 boards), Larry Nance Jr. (10 points, 5 rebounds), and Marcelo Huertas (12 points, 3 assists) all had positive contributions. Brandon Ingram, in just his seventh start, had 9 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists, including a huge three late in the 4th to bring the score to within 2 points.
The Suns will look to start a streak on Sunday, when they take on Anthony Davis, Tim Frazier and the (surging?) New Orleans Pelicans. That game will be at 6:30, at Talking Stick Resort Arena.