Video Credit: NBA

FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Suns – Game 68


After a few rough losses, the Los Angeles Lakers got back on track on Sunday night with a big win over the Phoenix Suns, beating them 123-110 behind a huge performance from Anthony Davis.


Lakers vs Suns
Photo Credit: Lakers Nation

Davis finished with 42 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, three blocks, and three steals on 13-of-27 shooting in 40 minutes.

The Lakers got off to a good start, moving the ball inside and out to open the game with a 7-0 lead. Defensively, Los Angeles was able to get into the passing lanes and force turnovers while Davis took advantage of his size to extend the team’s lead to 14 early.

For the first time during the 2020-21 season, Marc Gasol and Montrezl Harrell shared the floor together and were able to help maintain Los Angeles’ double-digit lead. The Lakers’ halfcourt defense suffocated the Suns while the bigs were able to take advantage in the paint to give the team a 30-19 lead after one.

Although Phoenix started to get their offense in order, Los Angeles was able to respond and keep them from making a dent in their lead. The Lakers continued to work the Suns in the paint, jostling for offensive rebounds and scoring around the rim though Chris Paul started to come alive from the midrange area.


Los Angeles managed to take a 16-point lead after beautiful ball movement along the perimeter led to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s second three of the night. Despite a quick spurt from the Suns, the Lakers went into the half with a 59-47 lead.


Lakers vs Suns
Photo Credit: Silver Screen and Roll

The Lakers outside shooting was hot atop the third as Welsey Matthews and Caldwell-Pope each hit one to keep the team up by 15. Mikal Bridges tried to keep Phoenix in the game with his jumper, but the 3-point shooting from L.A. allowed them to stay comfortably in front.

The Suns looked like they were about to make a run after scoring five quick points, but Ben McLemore answered with a three to cut off their momentum. Davis dominated down the stretch of the third which allowed the Purple and Gold to take a 98-71 into the fourth.

Jae Crowder caught fire from deep, draining 3-of-4 from distance but Alex Caruso was aggressive in getting to the rim and finishing. However, Cameron Payne torched the Lakers defense both from outside and in the paint to cut the deficit to 13.

Phoenix as a team could not miss from the field, whittling Los Angeles’ advantage to single digits with less than six minutes to go. However, the Lakers got enough stops at the end to pull out the improbable victory.


Lakers News and Notes:


Lakers vs Mavericks
Photo Credit: Yahoo

With Anthony Davis looking like he is back to his normal, unbelievable self, the next question surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers is obviously when will LeBron James be back on the court with his co-star.

Lakers head coach Frank Vogel has been pretty vague surrounding James overall, but all reports seem to indicate his return will be soon, especially with the regular season coming to an end.

James has been seen on the sidelines of recent Lakers games and has been extremely engaged even though he isn’t suited up. There is a concern upon James’ return, however, as his on-court time has been minimal over the past couple of months and, as was the case with Davis, it usually takes a player a few games to get back into rhythm.

But James has always been a player in which typical rules didn’t apply and his team has no concerns about how he will look once he is back on the court.

“What I’ve seen from LeBron today, he’ll be fine. Trust me. He’ll be fine,” Davis said after the win over the Suns. “He’s been in this game long enough. Obviously, he hasn’t missed a ton of games, but he’s been in this league long enough to be able to come back and lock in and do what he got to do to help the team.

“But I don’t know what other teams are thinking. We know that we’re confident against anybody we match up against, especially when we’re fully healthy. That’s our mindset. … We’re going to come out and fight and I think teams know that just because we’re a lower seed we’re not going to back down from anybody. We’re going to come out and play Lakers basketball and I think teams know that and fear that as well.”

His head coach also isn’t too worried either. “He looks good in his workouts,” Vogel said. “Obviously, there’s going to be a little bit of an adjustment period with him in terms of getting his rhythm and timing back. Hopefully, we have enough time for that to pick up very quickly.

“I tend to learn to have confidence in LeBron James in situations like that and we’ve said all along we’re going to battle through this stretch the best we can and try to get as healthy as we can down the stretch knowing that we can do big things if can get our two horses and really our team back, Dennis [Schroder] included.”


Lakers vs Knicks
Photo Credit: NBC L.A.

The Lakers will also be hoping to get point guard Dennis Schroder back in the lineup before the end of the regular season. He will also play a big role in the team’s championship hopes this season.

With so many players being in and out of the lineup it has been basically impossible for the team to truly develop chemistry.

But when James is on the court, seemingly anything is possible and his ability raises the Lakers’ ceiling despite all of the things that have gone against them this season. Normally things wouldn’t be able to fall into place in this amount of time, but James back on the court and Davis playing at a high level could very well force things into place.


The Lakers are home to Staples Center to take on the the New York Knicks Monday  night. The tip-off is at 7:00 pm and the game can be seen on TNT & Spectrum SportsNet.

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-Joe Arrigo – Franchise Sports Media

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