Kent Bazemore #9 of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots the ball during a preseason game against the Phoenix Suns on October 10, 2021 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California.

Lakers Drop Fourth Preseason Game to Suns

by Mike Trudell

Through four preseason games, we still haven’t seen L.A.’s regular rotation that will start the Oct. 19 regular season opener, but that could change on Tuesday, when LeBron James is expected to start.

With LeBron sitting on Sunday, the Lakers fell to Phoenix for the second time this preseason, losing 123-94 due largely to a 37-20 third quarter margin.

Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook shared an NBA court for the first time as teammates, with Malik Monk (strained groin) and Talen Horton-Tucker (sprained finger) joining LeBron in street clothes. Davis played 28 minutes towards 19 points on 5 of 12 shooting, plus 8 of 11 at the free throw line, to go with six assists, three boards, three steals and one block. Westbrook hit a pair of threes, but otherwise struggled from the floor, going 3 for 12 towards eight points with his five assists and two rebounds. He amassed nine turnovers, in a category that plagued the Lakers all night, with a margin of 23-20 favoring the visitors.

Kent Bazemore was terrific on defense, totaling four steals, plus a number of deflections, while harassing Suns backcourt players. Carmelo Anthony’s three-point shooting was another bright spot for the Lakers, as the 19-year veteran hit five of seven attempts from distance, making up the bulk of his 17 points off the bench.

Chris Paul was efficient and effective for the Suns, hitting 7 of 11 shots for 15 points plus five assists in 23 minutes, while Landry Shamet added 13 points in place of Devin Booker, who has yet to play for the Suns.

L.A.’s best stretch came in the second quarter, when they used a series of defensive stops to rip off a 14-0 run, enough to turn a double-digit deficit into a 44-42 lead. But the Suns closed the half on a quick 8-0 run to reclaim control, before pushing their advantage to as many as 29.

These two teams will go at it again in a game that counts, on Oct. 22, at Staples Center.

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