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FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Suns – Game 30

Franchise Sports Media

Los Angeles Lakers (13-17) | Phoenix Suns (19-12)


No LeBron, AD, or Russ? LA, we had a problem, as the Lake Show crumbled against the Phoenix Suns 130-104.


Lakers vs Suns
Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The shorthanded Lakers faced off against the shorthanded Suns in this one, as Anthony Davis (foot), LeBron James (left ankle soreness), Austin Reaves (right ankle sprain), and Russell Westbrook (left foot soreness) were all held out at Phoenix. In addition, Lakers forward Juan Toscano-Anderson was also still out with a right ankle sprain.

Patrick Beverley was available after missing the last game with right calf soreness, while Wenyen Gabriel (shoulder sprain) was also off the injury report and was available. The two-way point guard Scotty Pippen Jr. was also available. For Phoenix, they didn’t have Devin Booker, Cameron Payne, or Jock Landale.

The Lakers’ starters in Phoenix were Dennis Schroder, Patrick Beverley, Lonnie Walker IV, Troy Brown Jr., and Thomas Bryant.

Walker IV got the game started with a three, and Beverley shockingly hit a sidestep jumper to take a 5-2 lead early. Bryant hit back-to-back three-pointers after hitting 2 of 2 in the fourth quarter of their win against Washington, resulting in LA taking the lead 13-10 early.

However, the shorthanded Lakers lineup struggled to defend the Suns, and their system, with Phoenix starting 7 of 7 from the field and 4 of 6 at the free throw line, resulting in a 10-0 run for the Suns. However, Chris Paul had tricks up his sleeve as he swung through and caught Brown Jr., and his two free throws had Phoenix up 26-14, a staggering 16-1 run for the Suns.

Schroder finally got the Lakers’ first basket in about five or six minutes, but it didn’t matter much as this game was going pretty much how we expected, given the circumstances. The Lakers were down 38-24 after one. 

Bryant led the way with seven points, and Schroder had six. Phoenix shot 14-21 from the field and 4-6 from three. The Lake Show was struggling on every front as they were also outrebounded 14-6; side note, it’s hard to get rebounds when the other team doesn’t miss.

We were almost halfway through the second quarter, and the Lakers had just five measly points. After that, things picked up throughout, but the Lake Show still found themselves drowning, down 21 points at 56-35 with 3:58 left in the first half. They kept battling, though, as Schroder hit a three, but it didn’t mean much if they couldn’t play defense, and they allowed Torrey Craig to drill a three to end the first half.


At halftime, the Lakers found themselves in a deep hole, down 68-44 at the half, many had already mentally checked out of this one, and for good reason. The Lake Show defense was soft as a pillow, allowing the Suns to shoot 50% (23-46) from the field and 44.4% (8-18) from three.


Lakers vs Suns
Photo Credit: Rick Scuteri/AP

At least Schroder was playing well, with 16 points on 7-11 shooting from the field. Nobody else was in double digits, and everyone was in the negative for plus/minus. Max Christie has been solid as of late but struggled mightily as he was 0-4 overall and 0-3 from three. The Suns were outrebounding the Lake Show 30-16 and winning the turnover battle 8-4.

Beverley began the second half right, converting the and-1 layup and hitting the too-small sign on CP3 while down 24, which is peak troll activity but not exactly what we want, considering we would’ve liked to get back into this one.

Beverley kept it going as he assisted Walker IV for three, cutting the lead to an exciting 21 points. The light continued to shine our way as Walker IV hit another three, and teammate Brown Jr. matched him with a three of his own, somehow sparking a 16-9 run to begin the third quarter.

LA cut Phoenix’s lead all the way down to 15 points, but a 5-0 Suns run had the margin back up to 20 at 85-65. Schroder was the main star keeping the boat afloat with 20 points on 9 of 15 field goals, three assists, and four boards.

Schroder kept it cooking by converting an and-1, along with two free throws, to cut the lead back to 15. This was the performance that the Lake Show needed; however, they also required another Laker or two to step up, more preferably on defense, but that just wasn’t in the cards in this one as Deandre Ayton drilled a three; yes, you read that right.

Everything they worked for was for naught, as the Lake Show allowed an 8-0 run in the last two minutes of the third quarter to fall back down to a 22-point deficit at 99-77. As disappointing as it was, the third quarter was still the brightest spot of this game for the Lakers as they outscored the Suns 33-31.

The fourth quarter was more of the same, as the Lakers picked things up, and the Suns still couldn’t miss. The Lake Show outscored Phoenix through the first four minutes, 11-9. The defense continued to be sorry when you’ve got guys like Ish Wainwright draining threes.

For some odd reason, Paul was playing like it was the playoffs, as he hit his third three of the game to extend the Suns’ lead back up to 24. CP3 already had 20+ points, it was a blowout, and there were less than five minutes left in the game. He was finally subbed out, but it should’ve happened earlier; clearly, he was only still in to pad his stats. However, this one finally ended, and Lake Show fans could be released from their bonds as the Lakers fell to the Suns 130-104.

Key Takeaways


Lakers vs Suns
Photo Credit: Rick Scuteri/AP

Schroder, aka “Dennis the Menace,” led the squad with 30 points, four rebounds, and four assists. Kendrick Nunn flew under the radar as he had a solid night with 17 points on 3-6 from three. However, we needed more from Walker IV, as he had 16 points on a shaky 5-13 from the field. 

Bryant scored 16 points and five rebounds, but he’s no AD. Nunn was a team-best -7 while Schroder was a team-worst -18, though it was probably because he was the best player for the Lakers in this one, and Darvin Ham couldn’t afford to take him out. 

CP3 stat-padded his way to 28 points and eight assists. Ayton finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Mikal Bridges just always finds a way to make a big shot for Phoenix, and he puts up 20 points. Craig and Damion Lee combined for 32 points on 9-14 from three.


The Lakers will now travel to Sacramento, California, to take on the Sacramento Kings. They’ll face off Wednesday, December 21st, at 5:00 p.m. PT at the Golden 1 Center. The game will be available on NBA League Pass, NBC Sports California, and Spectrum SportsNet.

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– Jake Ideguchi-Furukawa – Franchise Sports Media

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