The Los Angeles Lakers have almost wrapped up their third straight season without a single game relevant to anything but lottery balls. They have been more or less forced to wait out the retirement of Kobe Bryant, and have been so indifferent to winning games that they have kept Byron Scott employed for two years.
While the Suns have nothing more to play for than the Lakers, they're relatively new to this. They've also been emboldened by the hugs and gold stars of interim head coach Earl Watson, and while the team is still bad enough to get humiliated semi-regularly, they seem to come back the next game with something of a vengeance.
That trend continued tonight, as the Suns held off a flat, lethargic Lakers team that only showed no fight until the fourth quarter kicked off. If that sounds like a description of a blowout, it wasn't. The Suns led the whole way, but don't have enough firepower to put away a Lakers team that was clearly just fine and dandy with the notion.
The Lakers surged in the fourth behind a Lou Williams scoring binge and some excellent playmaking from Marcelo Huertas, leading to a final minute in which it actually, seriously was hard to tell if either team was trying to win the game. A bad Lakers turnover begat a bad loose-ball foul by the Suns, which resulted in Ryan Kelly clunking two freethrows with his team down a single point, to which the Suns responded with a bricked 3, forcing the Lakers to pull out the big guns and commit offensive basket interference.
I did not make any of that up.
Brandon Knight finally sunk a jumper out of boredom to put the Suns up by 3 and then iced it with a pair of freethrows after the Lakers failed on their umpteenth chance to either tie or take the lead.
There wasn't a whole lot of intrigue in this one. Those hoping to scope some of the youngsters out were subjected to severe disappointment -- Devin Booker and Alex Len combined to shoot 6-27 from the field, while the Lakers' trio of D'Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle built an outhouse by shooting a combined 5-32.
Booker did manage 8 assists and 8 makes from the freethrow line, and Knight made some impressive plays down the stretch to cap off a 22-point outing (7-20 from the field).
Other than that, neither team cracked 37% shooting from the field on the night and the most pleasant thing I can say about this game is that this is the last time I will discuss it.