Over the past week, Lou Williams has been putting on a show that has never been seen from a player off the bench.
However, the Lakers once again weren’t able to capitalize on their sixth man’s brilliance, as Williams’ 35-point effort couldn’t stop his team from falling to Phoenix, 119-115.
The 10-year veteran was money from outside — hitting 6-of-12 3-pointers — while using his trademark foul-drawing skills across the floor — going 9-of-11 on free throws.
But Williams, who was the driving force behind the Lakers’ frantic comeback bid, had little interest in discussing his own success.
“It feels the same as not scoring a bunch of points and losing,” Williams said. “Losing is losing.”
Williams has been on a historic tear, scoring 137 points in his last four games, which are the most by a bench player in such a stretch since starts were first recorded 46 years ago, per Elias Sports Bureau.
Despite Williams leading the entire NBA with 34.3 points per game during that span, the Lakers have dropped every contest as part of a five-game losing streak.
“Usually if you score a lot of points, you probably get some wins out of it,” Williams said. We haven’t gotten any wins out of it, so there’s not a lot to take from it either.”
The Lakers (10-15) struggled to contain Eric Bledsoe, who piled up 30 points and nine assists, while aided by strong nights off the bench from Leandro Barbosa (21 points, five 3-pointers) and Alex Len (14 points, 13 rebounds, five blocks).
Still, despite putting up 115 points, the Lakers had some offensive issues when looking past Williams’ scorcher.
Brandon Ingram and Jordan Clarkson started in the backcourt due to injuries, but combined to shoot just 9-of-25 from the field. Other than Williams, the entire roster went 3-of-14 from 3-point range, while the Lakers tallied only 18 assists.
“If someone is hot,” head coach Luke Walton said, “you want to look for them, but you don’t want to stop everything else you’re doing.”
Phoenix (7-16) jumped out on the Lakers before Williams even had the chance to heat up, as Bledsoe went off for 15 points in the first quarter alone before the Suns entered halftime with a 62-52 lead.
“We are in a slump,” Julius Randle said. “We aren’t shooting the ball well, and it’s affecting us on the defensive end. We weren’t short of effort, but it was just a little too late.”
The visitors’ advantage ballooned up to 18 points midway through the third quarter, but the Lakers finally struck back with a 19-7 run led by three 3-pointers from Williams.
From then on, the purple and gold hung around just enough to threaten late, as Williams piled up 23 points in the second half.
On a disrupted play, Ingram managed to find himself open for a corner 3-pointer with 17.3 seconds left, and the rookie splashed it to cut Phoenix’s lead to 115-113.
Brandon Knight responded by hitting two free throws, but a Clarkson layup brought the deficit back to two with 6.2 seconds remaining. However, Bledsoe made two more foul shots to seal it.
Randle provided 14 points, nine rebounds and five assists. … Luol Deng had six points and 11 rebounds. … Phoenix scored 58 points in the paint. … A crowd of 18,997 sold out Staples Center.