It was the the Laker’s final preseason game but their first against the Phoenix Suns, and a battle among two teams with great young talent. It was also a fun game between friends with Devin Booker playing against D’Angelo Russell. While Booker may have been playing better throughout the preseason Russell took the upper hand today.
The Suns took an early eight point lead to start off the first quarter. The Suns were playing good on both sides of the court and the Lakers were not. The Lakers were not making their field goal attempts, but they made plenty of free throws and played stellar defense to stay in the game. This was especially evident with Larry Nance, Jr. and D’Angelo Russell as they had moments of shut down defense.
The Lakers went into the second quarter trailing by one and ended the half trailing 51-43. While they played badly in the second quarter, they had a couple of bright spots. Julius Randle had multiple transition plays where he was extremely exciting with dunks and passes, while D’Angelo Russell had a couple of steals and played good defense.
The third quarter was pure energy. Thomas Robinson and Larry Nance, Jr were involved in almost every play getting rebounds and dunking on everyone. Nance, Jr. almost murdered half of the suns roster with explosive dunk attempts and picked up tons of rebounds throughout the game, especially in the third.
The Lakers were trailing double figures throughout the fourth quarter. However, with two and a half minutes to go, they got the lead down to one, behind great play from Russell and Randle. With 26 seconds to go the Lakers had the ball and a chance for the tie or win. Julius Randle drove down the lane and got fouled but just couldn’t make the free throws for the tie.
D’Angelo Russell had a solid game today, scoring 17 points with seven rebounds and six assists. He wasn’t super efficient but he was involved in all aspects of the game. He was making good passes to his teammates, picking up rebounds, and playing solid defense against a slew of talented guards.
Julius Randle was the other bright spot with an impressive stat line of 15/8/2. He was impressive with his passing and should have had more assists. It also wasn’t an inefficient night as he made over half of his shots and was much more creative than before.
Despite most of the team not shooting well, they kept themselves in the game by playing hard and making the Suns’ best players uncomfortable with their defense. It was a solid game from the Lakers, but the team can’t afford to keep having an inconsistent offense as they have in the preseason. The regular season is starting soon and they need to fix a lot of things.
The Lakers will make their regular season debut against the Houston Rockets at Staples Center at 7:30 PST on Wednesday