The Phoenix Suns take on the Los Angeles Lakers at the Footprint Center in downtown Phoenix as part of the NBA's season. LAL () vs PHO (99). Get the box score, shot charts and play by play summary of the Lakers vs Suns, December 25, Phoenix Suns vs Los Angeles Lakers Oct 5, game result including recap, highlights and game information. HOW DO GOLF BETTING ODDS WORK
Last preseason, it was a lot of the Lakers looking bad and LeBron and the veterans telling us why things are actually fine. He finished with 12 points, six rebounds and three assists in about 18 first-half minutes. Unlike LeBron, Russ did play in the third quarter but the second halves of the opening two preseason games have felt much less intense and his time in third quarter was rather short. But in the first half, Russ benefitted from having more space to operate with the Lakers going small and Wenyen Gabriel able to space out at times, too.
He also picked a hell of a night to do it, too. But Reaves absolutely seized his opportunity, stuffing the box score with six points, seven rebounds, nine assists, three steals and two blocks while missing just one of his field goal attempts.
While he will still need to showcase an improved 3-point shot, his playmaking was evident and, more importantly, the energy he and PatBev brought to the starting group was noticeable. You can follow Jacob on Twitter at JacobRude. He pushed players as they ran by. In short, Pat Bev is in midseason form. LeBron was engaged on defense, blocking two shots by Mikal Bridges early on. Cam Johnson appeared to have injured his hand on the play.
Unfortunately, it was a sprained right thumb and we would not see him for the remainder of the night. Cam Johnson sprained his right thumb tonight and will not return, per Suns. Cam Payne sprained his right finger tonight and will also not return, per Suns. Essentially it moves Mikal Bridges into the power forward position next to Deandre Ayton as substitution patterns begin.
We saw DA take his first 3PA of the preseason, which is of note as Monty Williams stated that he expected the fifth-year center would add this to his game. Put some arc on those three-point attempts, DA. So the Suns perimeter defense is that bad. Westbrook had 11 points in the first, LeBron added 11 as well, and the Lakers out shot the Suns Suns down 7 after the first, Jock Landale looked impressive during his first stint off the bench for Phoenix. He was engaged on the boards, both offensive and defensive, and was effective in setting screens against the Lakers.
Chris Paul will fall in love with this aspect of his game as he gets used to playing with the young Australian. Those Landale screens are Jock Solid! His flexibility and connectivity is going to be vital for the second team unit this season. LeBron James was feeling it in the first half. He had 19 points his first 11 minutes of play.
He played in the game and sprained his right finger. Let the season begin, right? Without Jae Crowder playing for Phoenix, and with Cameron Johnson sidelined with an injury, Dario Saric had a run with the ones to end the second quarter. You miss Jae yet? The Suns shot better in the second quarter and cut the lead to five points on numerous occasions.
Credit must be given to the Lakers for the level of intensity they had entering the first half of this game. Both teams scored 34 points in Q2 and the Lakers head to the locker room with a 7 point lead. Suns down 7 at halftime. This might be a good role for Craig.
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It was a tale of two halves for the purple and gold, who looked like a pretty decent team with their superstars in the first two quarters then transformed into a G League squad in the second half without them. But even though L. First, the biggest breath of fresh air was that the Lakers no longer looked like a team full of old legs.
They started the game on a run thanks to their defense, transition offense and perimeter shooting. Russell Westbrook was a completely new and improved player on the offensive end, at least , Kendrick Nunn showed why the Lakers missed him last season while Anthony Davis who led the team with 11 points, 11 rebounds and two 3-pointers in 16 minutes seemed healthy and energized on both ends of the floor.
Their productive performance together had a lot to do with the young and defensive-minded teammates they are now surrounded with. Their rebounding, lack of shot creation, reliance on iso offense at times, bench production, closeout defense and shooting particularly in the second half were potential early signs of weaknesses.
The good news is that Ham and the Lakers have enough time to work on their mistakes and improve their chemistry moving forward. Props to Cameron Payne, who posted 19 points and seven assists and looked, dare I say, pretty Paul-esque in crunch time. Deandre Ayton is coming of age in front of our eyes. He finished with 22 points on Tuesday and has made 21 of his 24 shots in this series. Phoenix can still win this series, though it does feel like the Lakers wrangled the momentum heading home.
Perhaps Paul will make significant progress by Thursday, or at least by Game 4 on Saturday. But to this point, it's hard not to qualify most every piece of analysis pertaining to this series with the effective absence of one of the league's most valuable players. The Lakers played championship defense on Tuesday, but surely that was an effort aided by Paul's limitations.
They got a major contribution from Andre Drummond, who would, under normal circumstances, be an exploitable Paul pick-and-roll target. They were able to double-team Booker, who looked out of sync trying to assume Paul's normal half-court initiator role. For the life of me, I can't figure out why the Lakers aren't taking extreme measures to force Paul right when he has the ball. To be honest, they're often shading him left, which is the only way he can really take his dribble right now.
They were better about leaving Paul to help on other Suns penetrators and shooters, or not leaving their assignments to help on Paul, on Tuesday than they were in Game 1, but still, one could argue they're actually taking it kind of easy on Paul, who is nonetheless a shell of his normal self.
It stinks. There's no other way to say it. Paul's postseason injury luck, or lack thereof, has ventured into the realm of cruelty. Over the course of his career, Paul has suffered an injury during a playoff series that either significantly limited his abilities, or took him out entirely, four times. The worst was in the Western Conference finals, when he ripped his hamstring at the end of Game 5 and was forced to miss Games 6 and 7.
The Rockets lost those games, squandering their series lead and Paul's best shot at a title. This season, Paul and the Suns enjoyed an extraordinarily campaign, but the bug has bitten Paul again. It's brutal, but it's the card he and the Suns were dealt.
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