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FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Suns – Game 81 – 2023

Franchise Sports Media

Los Angeles Lakers (42-39) | Phoenix Suns (45-36)


The Los Angeles Lakers kept their hopes alive of avoiding the Play-in as they defeated the Phoenix Suns 121-107

The Lakers vs Suns played at the Arena on Friday.

Lakers vs Suns Austin Reaves
Photo Credit: Mark J. Terrill/AP

The Los Angeles Lakers kept their hopes alive of avoiding a spot in the play-in tournament with a 121-107 victory over the resting Phoenix Suns. The Lakers maintained possession of the seventh seed and improved to 42-39. 

However it falls, we need to take care of what we need to do,” Darvin Ham said after the Lakers had their eighth win in the last nine games.

That’s their job,” Darvin Ham said of people in the organization who have explained the different tiebreaker scenarios. “We all have our jobs. My job is to coach the team and make sure that whatever the scenario is, we come out and do what we’re supposed to do on the basketball floor.”

D’Angelo Russell stepped up with 24 points (9-of-14 FGs, 6-for-9 3s), three rebounds, and three assists. Anthony Davis had an awkward showing with only 14 points (4-of-12 FGs, 6-for-7 FTs), but he recovered with 21 rebounds, four assists, and three blocks. Austin Reaves totaled 22 points (9-of-13 FGs, 1-for-4 3s) and five assists.

LeBron James struggled in this one, finishing with 16 points (6-of-19 FGs, 3-for-7 3s), six rebounds, and six assists. Malik Beasley had a solid outing off the bench with 21 points (7-of-14 FGs, 4-for-10 3s) and two steals.

D’Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves stepped up

Just kept working hard,” Malik Beasley said of his shooting slump. “Eventually, they’re gonna fall, and tonight they did. Hopefully, it continues through the playoffs.”

The start of the Lakers vs Suns first half. 

Lakers vs Suns D'Angelo Russell
Photo Credit: Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports

Nobody can key in on just AD and me. When you have Beasley shooting the way he was, Russell shooting at a high rate, and Reaves playing exceptional, it keeps the defense always out there,” James said.

We’re not going to always shoot the ball tonight. LeBron and I struggled tonight, but we have a complete team. The depth on our team is strong to where we had a very convincing win,” Davis said.

Unfortunately, NBA fans missed out on another Kevin Durant vs. James matchup. With the fourth seed clinched and priority on health, the Suns sat their four core stars, Durant, Devin Booker, Chris Paul, and Deandre Ayton, on the second night of a back-to-back.

I thought we played great. We just couldn’t make a shot in the second half,” Suns head coach Monty Williams said. “They made 18 3s, and a lot of them happened at the end of plays. We had a lot of open shots we just couldn’t convert, and that happens on a back-to-back.”

Phoenix did just fine without their regulars, while Los Angeles needed to figure some things out. The Suns had an 8-2 edge on the offensive glass and a 24-18 board advantage overall, helping them to a 46-44 lead despite the Lakers shooting 50 percent. (seven 3’s).

The Lakers got a pair of 3’s in the final minute, including a corner hit from Russell with 1.9 seconds left, to trim a seven-point deficit to 62-61 at the half.

The end of the Lakers vs Suns first half. 

The Lakers finally started to distance themselves from the Suns. Los Angeles’ first double-digit lead came at the 7:34 mark, off of a James 3, their 15th total.  

The start of the Lakers vs Suns second half. 

Lakers vs Suns Rui Hachimura
Photo Credit: Mark J. Terrill/AP

It was tied at 96 early in the fourth quarter before the Lakers scored 11 straight points as part of a 13-2 run. James had seven points during the spurt, and Rui Hachimura added four.

Russell drilled his fourth, fifth, and sixth 3’s to put the game away.

Phoenix had a pair of injuries occur during the second quarter. Bismack Biyombo injured his right knee after a collision with Davis. Biyombo exited the game with four points, five rebounds, and three blocks. Cameron Payne tweaked his lower back after a hard fall. Payne finished the game with 13 points and four assists.

Torrey Craig led the Suns with 18 points, six rebounds, and four blocks. Jock Landale had 17 points and ten rebounds off the bench. Josh Okogie had 16 points and six rebounds.

The final score of the Lakers vs Suns was 121-107, Lakers. 

The Lakers now take on the Utah Jazz Sunday, April 9th, at 12:30 p.m. PST. The game is on NBA League Pass and Spectrum SportsNet.


– Jake Ideguchi-Furukawa – Franchise Sports Media

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