Twelve minutes into the game, the Suns had a 31-21 lead — down only a bit from a game-high 17-point lead — and fans had sugarplums dancing in their heads over the potential of a pre-Christmas win.
Then the second quarter happened.
The Lakers outscored the Suns 40-15 in the second twelve minutes that, when compounded by another hamstring pull by Devin Booker, sealed the Suns fate in this game.
How does a team start a game 31-21 but then get pounded 40-15 right after that?
Your guess is as good as mine. On offense, most of the answers are in the lack depth behind their two leading scorers (Booker and Warren), but the defense was horrid as well and neither Booker nor Warren are indispensable on that end.
These kids and an old man, Jamal Crawford, just cannot be expected to produce consistently good results. Hustle man Richaun Holmes was a -27 for the game despite his 13 points, 3 steals and 4 blocks. Jamal Crawford, who was a team-worst -30, made a couple threes but missed most everything else. And then there’s Ryan Anderson, who was a -16 in only 8 minutes of play.
The Laker blitz came from former Sun Tyson Chandler (+23), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (+23) and Josh Hart (+32), who each only played 17 to 22 minutes on the afternoon.
The second half was just a death march.
The only good news for the Suns?
Mikal Bridges had 11 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. And Josh Jackson had a really great first quarter stint while finishing with 13 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and a block.
The worst news for the Suns?
Devin Booker’s left hamstring strained again. He missed three games last time this happened, and you can bet this time the Suns will be even more cautious. That might be the last time we see Booker for a while.