The Los Angeles Lakers hosted the Phoenix Suns on Thursday night in the home opener searching for their first win of the young season.
While it marked the first time LeBron James and Kevin Durant shared the court together in a game that counts, the Suns were without their other two stars in Devin Booker and Bradley Beal. As a result, the Lakers were indeed able to get their first win, beating the Suns 100-95.
The Lakers got off to a quick 7-0 start behind two buckets from D’Angelo Russell and a three-point play from Anthony Davis before Josh Okogie got the Suns of the board with a triple.
As is becoming a theme though, the Lakers struggled on the defensive glass early and the Suns took advantage with a few 3-pointers to take their first lead at 17-16 midway through the first.
A timeout didn’t do the trick for the Lakers as they continued to struggle on defense with Phoenix building a double-digit lead at 30-18 going into the second quarter.
The Lakers played with some improved energy to start the second, going on a 6-0 run before Eric Gordon completed a three-point play.
With Durant off the floor the Suns predictably struggled, and the Lakers actually regained the lead after a triple by Davis and dunk by James on a nice feed from Gabe Vincent.
From there though, Durant came back in and LeBron went to the bench, prompting a mini Phoenix run and another lead change. With Durant getting going from midrange, the Lakers trailed 52-48 at halftime despite a triple from James late in the half.
After relatively quiet first halves, Davis and Austin Reaves got going for the Lakers early in the third quarter although the Suns answered with some timely 3s.
As the quarter went on, the Lakers struggled offensively and had no answer for Durant on the other end of the floor. After Durant beat the buzzer with a jumper, the Lakers trailing 84-72 going into the fourth and final quarter.
With Durant starting the fourth quarter on the bench, the Lakers needed to make another run to get back in the game and they did exactly that with six straight points, forcing a quick timeout for the Suns. The run stretched to 10-0 before Durant returned and ended it with a big triple.
While the Lakers tried to continue to claw their way back, their inability to make shots hurt them although the Suns’ shot-making was just as poor. Davis finally got a three-point play in the paint, tying the game at 87 with four minutes to play.
From there, James went into attack mode with four straight points to put L.A. back in front although Durant responded with four straight points of his own so the lead was short-lived.
In the final minutes, James attacked the basket for back-to-back buckets to give the Lakers a 95-91 lead. With the Suns struggling offensively, that was enough to put the game away.
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