Rajon Rondo vs. Phoenix
Rajon Rondo drives against the Phoenix Suns on March 2, 2019.
(Ty Nowell/Los Angeles Lakers)

Furious Comeback Falls Short in Lakers' Loss to Phoenix

by Joey Ramirez
Digital Reporter

One day after throwing down with the league’s best team, the Lakers could not muster similar energy against the last-place squad.

They followed Friday’s hard-fought loss to Milwaukee with a disappointing 118-109 defeat in Phoenix on Saturday.

“We’ve got to do a better job of bringing our own energy, finding that and executing,” Josh Hart said. “We can’t take plays off. We got to realize that every game matters. Every possession matters. That goes for all of us.”

The Suns (13-51) had the game in control for most of the night, inflating their lead to 19 points with just over 10 minutes left. From there, the Lakers (30-33) finally found a rhythm.

L.A. went on a 29-13 run — hitting nine straight shots at one point— to make it a one-possession game with a minute remaining, punctuated by LeBron James’ driving slam.

But the Lakers would not manage another point from there.

Hart was called for a questionable foul on Deandre Ayton, who hit both of his free throws. LeBron earned a trip to the line on the other side, but missed each of his shots. Phoenix hit four more from the charity stripe to seal it, while the Lakers went scoreless the rest of the way.

James nearly willed his team to victory, piling up 27 points, 16 assists and nine rebounds. He was flanked by Brandon Ingram — who continued his hot streak with 25 points — and JaVale McGee — who scored 21 on a perfect 10-of-10 clip.

But it was too late to snatch victory from a Suns team that entered the night with 18 losses in its previous 19 games. Phoenix was led by Ayton’s 26 points and 10 rebounds, plus 25 points from Devin Booker.

The Lakers are now 4 1/2 games out of eighth place in the Western Conference, with 19 games remaining.

“We’re losing to teams that we shouldn’t lose to,” Kyle Kuzma said. “We lost to like every bad team in the league. That’s unacceptable.”

Phoenix won despite hitting only six 3-pointers on 23.1 percent shooting. … The Suns made 34 free throws on 85.0 percent, compared to the Lakers’ 14 free throws on 65.2 percent. … Rajon Rondo shot just 1-of-10 from the field.

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