I did a rare thing earlier this week in picking against our Phoenix Suns, predicting they would lose a close game to the Los Angeles Lakers. I am happy to have been very wrong. The Suns got hot Thursday night, and the result was an emphatic and much-needed win to restore a little bit of stability and confidence to this team.
The Suns began the game firing away from downtown. They started the contest shooting 5/8 from three-point range, with the Lakers playing very lackadaisical defense for the most part. The Suns were clearly making it a point to hunt Lakers guard Austin Reeves, repeatedly and successfully looking to attack him when he was matched on Devin Booker, Kevin Durant, and Bradley Beal. The Suns led by as much as 17 at one point, and it was looking possible that the game might be all but over pretty quickly.
The Suns did get a bit complacent, however, settling too readily for jump shots and letting the Lakers slice a good chunk of that lead so that the Suns remained in control but the outcome was not quite as certain. Devin Booker had an especially fine first half, scoring 23 points on 9/13 shooting. But he wasn’t the only Sun to have some moments. I’d be remiss to not allow you to experience an electrifying play by Josh Okogie, who came up with a steal and then threw down a poster dunk on the Lakers’ Jaxson Hayes.
The Lakers, for their part, were barely running an offense most of the time. Aside from a few pretty nice dishes from Lebron James, Los Angeles was relying too much on Anthony Davis to just create his own shots in isolation and he wasn’t knocking them down.
At halftime, the score stood 66-52 in favor of the Suns.
The Suns went for the kill and put the Lakers away not far into the third quarter. Beal came alive in the third, dropping thirty in that frame to steal some of Booker's thunder.
The Lakers gamely tried to hang on for a bit, but the Suns lead ballooned up to 32 and the writing was definitely on the wall. Even a strong Lakers run in the 4th really never closed the game to where its outcome was ever in doubt. The last few minutes belonged to the Suns bench, and they closed it out admirably against the Lakers’ reserves.
Beal led all scorers, pacing the Suns with 37 points on a fantastic 14/21 shooting. Booker finished with 31 on 11/22 from the field, and Durant had a quiet 18 on 7/12.
D’Angelo Russell was the Lakers’ leading scorer at 19 points. Anthony Davis had 13 and Lebron chipped in 10, playing only 24 minutes. Lebron was laughing and clearly in good spirits as the game wound down, and I have to say that if I were a Lakers fan that wouldn’t sit all that well with me.
Final score: Suns 127, Lakers 109.
The Suns will next be in action Sunday night when they will be in Portland to take on the basement-dwelling Blazers.