The Suns lost for the third time in a row in the preseason, falling to the Lakers, 112-107.
The biggest news of the night was that Jae Crowder was active for the Suns and joining the starting lineup. Crowder did not disappoint with the attention him, nailing his first two triples in short order and with some nice range on them, too.
It's not JAE, it's JA3. pic.twitter.com/ubfh4V7BQx— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) December 17, 2020
The Suns took the baton from Crowder and kept the momentum going early, getting out to an early 20-8 lead. As has been true all preseason, Devin Booker stayed aggressive, even with the Lakers starting a bigger lineup that placed Kyle Kuzma on Booker to open the game.
Rather than trying to play bigger than Kuzma, Booker turned to his finesse game to simply get up shots that Kuzma couldn’t deny. Booker and Deandre Ayton combined for 16 early points.
CP3 and Book making it easy for Ayton pic.twitter.com/UwLfCI8RIR— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 17, 2020
Also I just have to note here that the Suns are now somehow getting highlights on the Bleacher Report main page. That’s called the CP3 effect, guys.
More bench problems plagued the Suns in the second quarter. Jevon Carter checked in and pounded the ball a bit too much, which while you like to see that he’s always going to play with force, that’s not his role. Neither E’Twaun Moore or Langston Galloway inspired much confidence as play-makers, either.
After Booker picked up his fourth foul, the Suns went to a Carter-Chris Paul pairing in the backcourt that we’d seen a few times in the other games, and that just made me think once again that Monty Williams will have to stagger Booker and Paul to have enough play-making across all 48 minutes of the game.
The Suns closed the gap in the third quarter after LeBron James and Anthony Davis went to the bench thanks to a 16-8 run.
Throughout the second half, it was just a test of if the Suns could keep their lead and secure their first win of the preseason.
They were up against preseason darling Talen Horton-Tucker, the NBA’s answer to Mike Wazowski from Monster’s Inc. No disrespect to Horton-Tucker, but he has a body made to play basketball and it takes some getting used to watching him on the court.
The young guard kept up his impressive postseason against the Suns, scoring 18 points.
THT is too strong pic.twitter.com/oo45vWJzhj— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) December 17, 2020
In the end, Horton-Tucker’s second half scoring was enough to come back and take down the Suns, putting Phoenix in a 0-3 hole for the preseason.