NBA

Suns Outlast the Lakers Despite Devin Bookers’ Ejection

Phoenix Suns forward Abdel Nader (11) moves to the basket against Los Angeles Lakers guard Talen Horton-Tucker (5) and guard Alex Caruso (4) during the second half at Staples Center.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

In years past, the Suns versus Lakers matchup would be merely just another regular-season game with Los Angeles making quick work of Phoenix. However, the Suns have proved they are no pushover this season and continued their good run of form with a statement win over the Lakers on Tuesday night. With the win, the Suns climb ahead of the Lakers and into second place in the Western Conference.

Forward Dario Saric finished with a team-high 21 points off the bench. Saric stepped up in a big way following Devin Booker’s ejection, hitting 40% of his shots from beyond the arc. Center Deandre Ayton finished with 17 points, while forward Jae Crowder finished with 15 points.

Shooting guard Mikal Bridges finished with 19 points in 36 minutes tonight. Bridges has made a big leap this year, averaging 13.7 points and 5 rebounds per game in 33 games played so far. His efficient 52/42/83 shooting splits are another testament to Bridges’ progress as a player.

Booker departed the game with 17 points on 7-12 shooting from the field. Bookers’ ejection was the result of two technicals in a short span of time. The first appeared to be for dissent, with Booker voicing his displeasure towards the referee following a controversial call. Upon receiving the first technical, Booker violently shoved the ball into another referees’ hands, prompting the second technical and ensuing ejection.

Lakers Notes in Loss

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) moves the ball against Los Angeles Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (1) and center Damian Jones (30) during the first half at Staples Center.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James finished with 38 points in the loss tonight. Shooting an efficient 16-24 from the field, the Suns had no answer for James. However, the Lakers seemingly had no answer for the Suns perimeter shooting. The Suns shot a fantastic 55.2% from three on the night. While they attempted just 29 threes, Phoenix was converting when they had the opportunity.

Many fans took to social media to voice their displeasure with head coach Frank Vogel following the loss. Fans were frustrated with the lack of playing time for center Damian Jones. Jones, who recently joined the team on a 10-day contract, played just 7 minutes in the loss. Jones won over the fans with high energy and athletic plays at both ends of the floor. Despite his positive play, Vogel opted for the trio of Wesley Matthews, Markieff Morris, and Montrez Harrell in most instances throughout the game. The Lakers will hope to bounce back with upcoming games versus the Kings, Pacers, and Warriors.

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