A beautiful poster was held Tuesday night at Staples Center, between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Phoenix Suns, who had both won their last two meetings. And it was the Arizona franchise that continued their streak, returning from California with yet another hit (114-104). Yet the Suns had to do without their star player, Devin Booker, sent off in the middle of the third quarter, for two consecutive technical faults. The Lakers were deprived of Anthony Davis and Kyle Kuzma, injured, as well as Marc Gasol (health protocol).
The exclusion of Booker did not prevent Phoenix from keeping control of the game. The Suns led most of the game, except for a handful of minutes in the second quarter. At the break, Phoenix had a seven-point lead (60-53), then the gap remained tight in the third quarter (86-83, 36th).
The Suns outperform both LA franchises
The Suns then escaped, after two three-point shots from Chris Paul and Abdel Nader (96-86, 38th). But Los Angeles still had the respondent (98-93, 40th), led by LeBron James, author of 38 points on Tuesday. Not enough to destabilize Phoenix who has moved forward, thanks to Jae Crowder and the same Nader (104-93, 42nd) and, this time, the Lakers were unable to react. A Mikal Bridges dunk completed the Suns’ success.
With the win, the Arizona team surpassed both Los Angeles franchises in the Western Conference standings (the Clippers lost in Boston on Tuesday) and are now in second place, four wins away from Utah. Jazz, the leader.
Phoenix’s Hottest Saric and Bridges
Devin Booker, therefore released prematurely, was limited to 17 points. Dario Saric (21 points in 26 minutes) and Mikal Bridges (19 pts) were the most prominent in the ranks of the Suns. The latter were effective at three points with 16 of 29 successful shots, while the Lakers failed in this exercise with a paltry 11/31. Talen Horton-Tucker (Los Angeles) split 16 points in just 19 minutes.
The Phoenix Suns will look to continue their winning streak Thursday against the Golden State Warriors. The Los Angeles Lakers, they will try to revive on Wednesday at the Sacramento Kings.