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Kevin Durant’s 39 Points Not Enough as Suns Fall To Lakers, 100-95

The Phoenix Suns were on the road against the Los Angeles Lakers in their second game of the season. The “injury bug” has already bitten the Suns as both Devin Booker and Bradley Beal were out for the game. Grayson Allen and Eric Gordon replaced them in the starting line-up.

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The Lakers came into this match-up after losing to the Denver Nuggets on October 24th, 119-107. In that game Anthony Davis scored 17 points in the first half and ended the game with 17 points. He went 0/6 from the field in the second half. LeBron James was the leading scorer with 21 points. This was not enough as Nikola Jokic had a triple double, 29 points, 13 rebounds, and 11 assists to help led Denver to the win.

The Suns were victorious in their opener as they defeated the Golden State Warriors on October 24th, 108-104. Devin Booker was definitely the player of the game for Phoenix. He had 32 points, eight assists, and six rebounds. Phoenix was also great on the defensive end holding Golden State to 35% shooting from the floor and 23% from the floor.

The Lakers came into this game looking to get on the right track after their opening night loss to Denver. Phoenix looked to stay on the winning track with Devin Booker.

There was a lot of hype coming into this game as this was the first time Kevin Durant and Lebron James played against each other in a game that counts since December 25, 2018.

First Quarter

The Lakers came out hot as they got out to a 7-0 run to start.

Josh Okogie was able to get Phoenix with a corner three off of an assist from Grayson Allen.

The Suns were able to close the gap and eventually take the lead over the next few minutes behind the play of Okogie. He had two offensive rebounds during this run. Phoenix was up 17-16 with 5:08 left in the quarter. Eric Gordon already had seven points on 3/6 shooting. He was 4/16 in the previous game against the Warriors.

After the timeout the Suns scored nine unanswered points. The Lakers finally snapped the cold streak with a driving lay-up by Gabe Vincent. Jordan Goodwin came into the game and made an impact right away. He was picking up D’Angelo Russell full court and being aggressive on offense. Goodwin scored seven points in the quarter.

The Suns were up 30-18 at the end of the first quarter. Suns carried their great defense over from the Golden State game holding the Lakers to 34.8% shooting from the floor and 11% from three point range.

Second Quarter

The Lakers started the second quarter on a 6-0 run as LeBron James and D’Angelo Russell got going. Eric Gordon would end the run with driving lay-up where he was fouled, he would make the free throw to convert the three point play. The game would go back and forth after that. Phoenix was up 35-31 with 7:34 left in the second quarter.

The Lakers would continue to play well and force the Suns to take a timeout with 5:55 left in the game. Los Angeles was up 38-35. The Suns offense really struggled with Kevin Durant out of the game.

Jusuf Nurkic picked up his third foul with 5:16 left in the quarter. He only had two points but his impact was on the glass as he had eight rebounds in the first half.

The Suns were able to take the lead back behind the play of Durant who scored five straight points. This was followed with three pointer from Okogie and a three point play for Goodwin.

That was immediately followed by a Lakers turnover and mid-range jumper by Durant.

The Lakers would respond with a run of their own to close the gap behind the scoring and passing of LeBron James. The Suns went into halftime up 52-48.

Players of the Half

Kevin Durant had 15 points, five rebounds and five assists. Josh Okogie was huge in the first half with eight points and two offensive rebounds. Jordan Goodwin had big half with 10 points and a plus/minus of +10.

Anthony Davis and LeBron James had 11 points each. D’Angelo Russell was also a key contributor with 10 points.

Key Stats of the Half

The shooting stats were almost identical as the Suns shot 43.2% from the floor and the Lakers shot 43.9%. Each team struggled from three shooting under 30%. Phoenix won the rebounding battle 27-22.

Third Quarter

Kevin Durant scored the first five points of the quarter for the Suns. The Lakers stayed in the game as they started to show Durant more bodies. The Suns were up 65-59 with 7:22 left in the quarter.

The next few minutes were back and forth as the Suns’ lead stayed around five or six points. Phoenix was up 73-68 with 2:48 left in the third. Goodwin continued to play well in his minutes, his plus/minus was +12 at this point in the game.

LeBron James played 20 minutes up to this point and his plus/minus was +10. Anthony Davis’ plus/minus was -8 in first 27 minutes played.

The Suns were able to extend their lead behind the play of Durant and Yuta Watanabe.

Phoenix was up 84-72 at the end of the third quarter.

Fourth Quarter

The Lakers came out strong to start the fourth quarter as Durant sat on the bench. It was a 6-0 run by Los Angeles. Phoenix was up 84-78 with 10:06 left in the game.

The Suns took a timeout and the Lakers run continued until Kevin Durant hit a three pointer. Phoenix was 87-82 with 8:06 left.

Nurkic was substituted out of the game with 6:30 left and the Suns had a small lineup with Durant as the center. The lack of size showed up as Anthony Davis got an offense rebound and was fouled right before a timeout. Suns led 87-84 with 4:54 left in the game.

The lack of size was exploited by the Lakers again as Eric Gordon got stuck on Anthony Davis in the post. This led to a three point play for Davis. Game was tied at 87 with four minutes left. Nurkic was brought back into the game.

This was followed by a great play by LeBron James as he split a double team to make a lay-up and take the lead for the Lakers.

LeBron continued to put the Lakers on his back. Los Angeles was up 91-87 with 2:19 left in the game. Kevin Durant came back with four straight points and on that bucket that tied the game, Durant passed up Hakeem Olajuwon on the all-time scoring list.

James came back to back lay-ups to put the Lakers up 95-91 with 41 seconds left in the game. Anthony Davis went to the free throw with 7 seconds left, Lakers were up 96-93. Davis made both free throws.

Durant came right down and scored a quick lay-up to make it, 98-95 Lakers. Davis went to the foul line again and knocked down both free throws to close out the game.

The Lakers outscored the Suns 28-11 in the fourth quarter. Kevin Durant scored nine of those 11 points for Phoenix.

The Lakers defeated the Suns, 100-95. Both teams are now 1-1 on the season.

Players of the Game

Kevin Durant did all he could in the losing effort scoring 39 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. LeBron James was the catalyst for the Lakers comeback as he played the entire fourth quarter. James had 21 points, nine assists, and eight rebounds. Anthony Davis was also huge for the Lakers with 30 points and 13 rebounds.

Key Stats of the Game

The Suns had more turnovers, 20, than assists , 16. This will definitely not shut down the noise about the team not having a “true” point guard. This was a bad shooting night for both teams as the Suns shot 42% from the field and 29% from three. The Lakers shot 42.9% from the floor and 17% from three.

Up Next

The Suns have their home opener against the Utah Jazz on Saturday, October 28th. Los Angeles will be on the road against the Sacramento Kings on Sunday, October 29th.

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