The Lakers showed their age and lack of depth in this Suns victory. The balance was key to this win from Devin Booker knocking down the big shot. Deandre Ayton holding down the middle, and the bench coming in to contribute like they normally do.
Not overlooking the Lakers shows the same focus the Suns have had all year in racking up the wins.
It was LeBron James and Deandre Ayton trading baskets in the early going and Devin Booker was turning the ball over. The Lakers had the 12-6 lead with 7-minutes left in the 1st quarter.
James, for the Lakers, reached 10 points early in the game and gave the crowd that was still filing in something to cheer about. The energy brought by James sparked the rest of the Lakers team, who moved the ball around at will, leading to good looks at the rim.
Ayton, on the Suns side, had 11 to go with a very impressive assorted looks at the rim.
Booker tied the game with his first three of the game at 18 each. The Lakers without James on the floor looked shook in their shoes. The depth of the Suns began to show with 2:27 left in the 1st.
Booker then took the lead with another three. Forcing the shot from the perimeter, with the only reason being is he was feeling it. Then another three. 9-points in the 1st after hitting 2 out of his last 3 from beyond the arc.
End of the 1st with the Suns trailed 24-25.
2-15 from 3 to start the game for the Suns. Ayton was able to take advantage of the size difference in the middle but McGee was unbale to get involved in his first stint. Around the 10-minute mark of the 2nd quarter, McGee was then able to score 6 in a row as the Suns were then 2-18 from 3.
Trevor Ariza and Carmelo Anthony were knocking down the covered 3’s on the other end for the Lakers. 38-30 Lakers, at this moment.
When the shots aren’t falling for the Suns, what else could they do? Get to the line! The smarts of Chris Paul getting the fouls called helped put him at the line and force the Lakers to back off defensively with the pressure of getting into the bonus began to creep up for the Suns.
Mikal Bridges finally got a floater to go in after putting more of an effort on the shot. The past few attempts fell short with him trying to draw the foul but the confidence on the last went down strong.
Suns down 42-40 with 5:34 left in the 2nd
Continuing to look impressive, Bridges made three buckets in a row to give the Suns a 50-47 lead. Taking the ball to the rim then began to open up everything else for Bridges. Then, there is his defense!
Suns led at halftime 54-52.
Looking for the 3, Booker wanted them and he got them. 2-2 to start the 2nd half and taking the lead with him, Booker and Suns went up 61-52. This is something we have seen from the Suns in the last few games- coming out after halftime and going after the opponent!
More Booker! 65-54, as Booker drains another 3! Expect more to come?!
7-7 from the field, Ayton continued his perfect night. The hoop became large in the 3rd quarter from inside and outside.
Russell Westbrook began to play his natural possession at center, at least that's what I think. He was able to clean up the glass and put back anything he could get his hands on. His aggression enabled him to get the upper hand and leading the Lakers on an 8-0 run. The Suns lead was cut down to 5.
Melo, with his 2nd technical of the game was thrown from the game, after helping the Lakers go on a run. His 7-points stay, but he was missed in a high-tension game.
Melo gets ejected in the third quarter pic.twitter.com/Ko6q6zECvC— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 22, 2021
Jae Crowder finally got a corner three to go down! Helping the Suns when they seemed to be a little lost offensively.
Chris Paul is an absolute joy to watch!— Suns Nation (@SunsNationCP) December 22, 2021
Young players please take notes! pic.twitter.com/ejGXPbeVJU
The Lakers were able to keep up with the struggling Suns along with James and his “tweaked” ankle. Poor guy.
LeBron steps on you. Foul on you. Noted.— Suns JAM Session Podcast (@SunsJAM) December 22, 2021
Landry Shamet got into the action with a steal and an and-1 at the other end, pushing the Suns lead up to double-digits, 80-70. This was the momentum the Suns needed to get the rest of the team and their head back into the game.
I have to note here that Westbrook is just not that good with the ball in this game. Turning the ball over almost every time he touched the ball. The look on the court is like the opposite end of what Suns fans get from Paul.
And the Suns were just too quick. When the bench came in to start the 4th, Payne upped the tempo and the lead shot to 15.
Anything could happen to the lead as the Suns began to speed things up when they should slow things down and take care of the ball. Cameron Payne began to show his inner Russell Westbrook before Paul came back to release him.
It must be the yellow shoes because Bridges was having a night. Trying to close out the game with 6-mins left in the game, Bridges was cutting and he was stealing. Taking matters into his own hand.
When the Suns see a man like Bridges take over... the rest is history. Cameron Johnson made sure of it with a corner 3 to put the Suns up 20-points with 5-minutes left.
Suns win 108-90!