Video Credit: NBA

FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Suns – Game 16

Franchise Sports Media

Los Angeles Lakers (5-11) | Phoenix Suns (11-6)

 

Despite Anthony Davis having an extraordinary game, he could not carry his team to victory as the Lakers fell 115-105 to the Phoenix Suns

 

Lakers vs Suns
Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Max Christie entered health & safety protocols last week and has been listed out ever since. Juan Toscano-Anderson has also been out due to mid-back soreness. LeBron James, due to an adductor strain, was listed as out.

James missed his fifth straight game against the Suns. The Lakers will ensure James is 100% healthy before allowing him to return from his injury. In his absence, the Lake Show has won three straight games for the first time since January. Chris Haynes reported that James would make his return Friday against the Spurs.

The Lakers continued to use their undefeated starting lineup, which was 3-0. Patrick Beverley, Austin Reaves, Lonnie Walker IV, Troy Brown Jr., and Anthony Davis.

Walker IV got out in transition for the first points of the night. Beverley made an excellent pass up ahead to Walker IV, and the Lakers went up 7-5 early with 7:47 left in the first. Both teams struggled early on, with the Lake Show 3-10 and the Suns 2-10.

Russell Westbrook subbed in and accelerated to the hoop. In doing so, he drew the goaltending call on Deandre Ayton. Darvin Ham decided to deploy his guard-heavy lineup, leaving Davis as the only big/forward on the floor. But Devin Booker still got to work with the and-1 on a stop-and-pop jumper.

Booker came off a screen and did a mean pump fake to get two Lakers up in the air, he then passed it off to Mikal Bridges in the corner, and he made the three. Davis made his first bucket from 20 feet out. Booker came right back down and drained a pull-up jumper over Reaves. Westbrook drove inside and missed the layup, but Davis was right there to clean it up to cut the lead to three.

Despite some highlights, neither team looked great in that quarter. There were a lot of turnovers and sloppy play, but they held the Suns to 43.5% overall and forced five turnovers. However, they were inefficient on the other end and trailed 26-22 while shooting 40% from the field and going 0 for five from 3. Davis had seven points, seven boards, two blocks, two assists, and a steal.

Thomas Bryant subbed in and immediately got to work, scoring four buckets in a row. But it wasn’t enough, as their defense struggled to get stops and the Suns pulled ahead by seven.

An ominous sign for the Lake Show fans, as Davis went for an offensive rebound and got tangled up with Booker. It seemed as if he might’ve landed awkwardly on it. But Davis stayed in the game and appeared to be somewhat OK. He made both free throws, and the Lakers were still down by eight.

Reaves bullied his way into the paint and ignored the contact from Torrey Craig for two. Walker IV hit the three in transition to make it a three-point game. Westbrook dimed a cutting Walker IV on the baseline, and he flushed it through for two. After a pair of free throws from Reaves, the Lakers were back in the lead. Davis hit both free throws to cap off a 15-2 run for the Lakers.

But Ayton put a stop to the bleeding with a score inside, and Booker was able to make a jumper to close out the first half.

 

At halftime, the score read Lakers 55, Suns 53. The Lakers closed the first half on an 18-6 run and outscored the Suns 33-27 overall in the second quarter. Davis had 14 points and ten rebounds. Walker IV had 13 points. Bryant had 8 points.

 

Lakers vs Suns
Photo Credit: ESPN

The Lakers held Phoenix to 43.8% shooting, but the Suns were 8-17 from three. The Lakers also had a significant advantage from the line, 13-14, compared to 3-3 for Phoenix. Both teams struggled with turnovers, 10 for Phoenix and 9 for the Lake Show.

Cameron Payne got the second half started with a 15-foot jumper, which sparked a 10-2 run capped off by Booker, making the three to open the second half—forcing Ham to call a timeout.

On their next possession, the Lakers made an extra pass, leading to a three from Walker IV, cutting the lead down to five. Westbrook got the three to pull within two, 73-71. But then Westbrook lost Bridges cutting baseline, and Booker hit him for the dunk. He still hasn’t quite kicked the ball-watching habit on defense.

Davis got a highly contested layup to fall in traffic. Westbrook worked Ish Wainwright, got past him, drew the foul, and made the layup. Booker pump-faked to get Schroder in the air. He stepped through and sank the jumper in response.

The Lake Show got within one at the 1:28 mark of the 3rd quarter but allowed an 8-2 run to close the period, as the Suns took an 86-79 lead into the 4th.

The Lakers forced a turnover, and Walker IV knocked down the jumper to start the fourth. Duane Washington Jr. scored a jumper, then another layup, finishing a 6-2 run to start the fourth. Not a good start, so Ham brought back Davis and Reaves as they were in danger of losing their grip on this one.

Next, Westbrook drove inside and got the score to stop the bleeding early. But Bridges scored an easy one inside to push the lead to 12 at 96-84. Davis then got a defensive rebound on the next Phoenix possession and went full-court to score the layup. With that, Davis joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in putting up 30 points, 20 boards, and five steals in a game. It’s the 7th 30-20 game of his career and his 2nd as a Laker.

After free throws for Westbrook, it’s an 8-point game. But a wide-open transition three to cut the margin to five goes in and out for Walker IV. It was that kind of night from three for the Lake Show. Walker IV did hit two free throws after a stop, so the deficit was 100-94 with 5:20 to play.

A possession later, Reaves fell to the floor, and Ayton stood over him. Beverley didn’t like that and leveled Ayton, who tripped over Reaves and fell to the floor. Beverley was ejected, Booker got a technical for smacking Reaves, which led to him falling, and Ayton was also assessed a technical for taunting. Beverley stepped up to protect his teammate, but he probably has a suspension coming.

It ends up a four-point possession for the Lake Show with two Reaves free throws, then a dunk from Davis. The Lakers were within 6, but Booker came back down and hit a fadeaway jumper. Westbrook tried to spark a run, but sadly, he air-balled miserably. Craig made a three to push the lead to 11, which was the dagger. The final score read Suns 115, Lakers 105.

Key Takeaways

 

Lakers vs Suns
Photo Credit: Darryl Webb/AP

This was a gritty performance from the Lake Show. They showed that their improved play was no fluke. Davis finished with 37 points, 21 rebounds, five steals & 5 blocks. He’s had 30+ points & 16+ rebounds in four straight games. Davis said his left hand was still numb from his fall earlier in the game.

Westbrook had 21 points and five assists off the bench. Walker IV had 24 points. Beverley had no points but still had ten rebounds.

It’s an oversimplification, but the Suns hit threes, and the Lakers didn’t. The Suns shot 47.1% (16-34) from three, while the Lakers shot a terrible 18.2% (4-22) in comparison.

Booker finished with 25 points, four rebounds, five assists, and six fouls. Ayton had 14 points and 15 rebounds. Bridges put up 25 points on 5-7 from three, as well as six rebounds. Damion Lee had nine points on 3-5 from three and seven rebounds.

Davis on the Beverley-Ayton skirmish, “We got each other’s back. Pat is known for that. We don’t let anybody stand over our teammate. That’s disrespectful.”

Davis, on his dominant stretch, “I don’t need any motivation. I go out here and play basketball. I think I finally just caught a rhythm and dealt with the back.”

 

The Lakers will now travel to San Antonio, Texas, and take on the San Antonio Spurs. They’ll face off Friday, November 25th, at 5:00 p.m. at the AT&T Center. The game will be available on Spectrum SportsNet and NBA League Pass.

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– Jake Ideguchi-Furukawa – Franchise Sports Media

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