Video Credit: NBA

New FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Suns – Game 32

Franchise Sports Media

Los Angeles Lakers (16-16)  |  Phoenix Suns (25-5)


The short-handed Los Angeles Lakers returned home on Tuesday night and hosted the Phoenix Suns, who blasted them 108-88.


Lakers vs Suns
Photo Credit: Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images

Russell Westbrook was active on both ends to start, driving to the rim for the Lakers’ first score and later coming up with a steal. Then, LeBron James asserted himself offensively by scoring six quick points, which gave Los Angeles a rare early double-digit lead at 16-6 midway through the period.

The Lakers went small with James at center, which allowed Deandre Ayton to get going near the painted area, though the Lakers held a three-point advantage. Devin Booker started to heat up from the field as he drained several long jumpers, but more drives from Westbrook allowed L.A. to take a 25-24 lead into the second.

The Suns’ cold shooting from outside continued to start the second as they missed several wide-open looks, but Carmelo Anthony and Trevor Ariza got their threes to go to extend the Laker lead to eight. Then, Chris Paul began to take over the Phoenix offense, and they were able to tie the game up at 42-42.

After a slow start, Mikal Bridges started to perk up on both ends, though an Ariza transition three kept the Lakers close.


James took over in the final minutes of the quarter but L.A. would head into the half trailing 54-52.


Lakers vs Suns
Photo Credit: ESPN

It was a poor start to the third for the Lakers as they allowed an 11-2 run that quickly put them in an 11-point hole. Anthony was ejected from the game after picking up his second technical foul, and James looked like he sprained his ankle after landing on Jae Crowder’s foot though he was able to remain in the game.

James looked like he could move OK after the injury while the Lakers did their best to hang around. However, a couple of bad turnovers from Westbrook left L.A. staring at an 85-73 deficit going into the fourth quarter.

The Lakers could not capitalize on open looks from distance, while the Suns found themselves free for easy scores that forced another timeout from David Fizdale. James tried to keep L.A. in it, but Phoenix had no issues responding and keeping them well at bay.

Even though the Lakers were able to get good looks, they could not convert as the Suns built up a 20-point lead. As a result, Los Angeles would suffer another blowout loss to Phoenix with no time left to make much of a comeback.


Russell Westbrook was arguably the biggest move made this offseason as he joined his hometown franchise in hopes of winning his first NBA Championship.


Lakers vs Suns
Photo Credit: Jae C. Hong/A.P.

Unfortunately, due to many reasons, the Lakers have not lived up to those lofty preseason expectations.

Injuries, suspensions, and the rise in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases have seen the Lakers cycle players in and out of the lineup all season long. When it looks as if some chemistry is building and players are gaining confidence, new players are gone for some reason.

The Lakers have had to adjust with what they have available regularly, and Westbrook spoke on that following the team’s loss to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night.

There are some things we’re adjusting to the fly, which right now is what it is. No excuses for that,Westbrook said. “But we just got to find ways to win games, that’s it. Right now, just try to find ways to be able to win games.”

The Lakers could not overcome those roster issues against the Suns, falling by 18 points. The loss was their third straight after Austin Reaves’ game-winner against Dallas capped off a three-game win streak. Unfortunately, these fluctuations for the Lakers have been par for the course this season, with great moments being followed by baffling performances.

But Westbrook maintains a positive outlook, believing these ups and downs are routine and that the Lakers must stay together through these rough times.

“I’m very optimistic. We’ve been through so much as a team already and still going through it as a unit. And the best part about it for me thus far is just the ups and downs. That’s the NBA season. The most important part is that we stay together, never divide, never panic, never succumb to what the people on the outside of our team are saying.

“Just make sure that we stay close-knit and find ways to be able to stick together through whatever it is because we’re a team that doesn’t rely on excuses. We understand the circumstance that we have in our locker room, and we got to make the best of it. It’s as simple as that.”

Regardless of the recent run for the Lakers, they’ve always stressed patience with no rumblings of fractures with players and coaches. Everyone understands that the team isn’t where it needs to be but is committed to eventually figuring things out.

With Westbrook and LeBron James leading the way, the Lakers have a clear message and will do the work necessary to figure things out. But if the Lakers can’t stick together throughout these difficult times, it will be impossible to turn it around.



The Lakers will take on the San Antonio Spurs Thursday night in the final game at Staple Center, before changing the name to Crypto Currancy Arena on Christmas. The game will begin at 7:00 and can be seen live on Spectrum SportsNet.

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– Matt Dobbs – Franchise Sports Media

Follow Matt on Twitter @RecordBowlerFSM

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