Backed by blazing shooting from behind the arc, the Suns snapped the Lakers 3-game winning streak on Tuesday night, outlasting them 115-105 and dropping their record to 5-11 in the process.
Keeping them in the game all night, Anthony Davis was simply masterful in this game, pouring in 37 points and grabbing 21 rebounds while also blocking 5 shots and tallying 5 steals. With that stat line, AD became the first player to record 35 points, 20 rebounds, five blocks and five steals in a game (dating back to the 1973-74 season when steals and blocks became official stats).
The Suns did their best to limit AD's shot attempts (17 in all; he made 11) by crowding him on every touch and showing him second and third defenders whenever he went to attack. But Davis, after sinking a couple of long jumpers as a counter to this approach early in the game, went back to work by attacking the defense with quick moves and was able to draw fouls in the process. The result was 16 trips to the free-throw line where he was able to knock down 15 of them.
Davis also found ways to score inside by getting downhill as a dive man in the pick-and-roll for shots in the paint, creating off the dribble in early offense after bringing the ball up himself, and just working hard to establish position inside where he could score even as he was getting swarmed. Add this to all he did defensively and on the backboards and it was another night in which AD made the amazing look routine.
Despite AD's dominance, however, the Lakers weren't able to overcome the Suns shooting from the outside and often played catchup trying to beat three's with two's. As a team the Suns shot 16-34 from behind the arc, with Mikal Bridges (5-7), Damion Lee (3-5), and Ish Wainright (2-2) the main drivers of that success. Bridges was just as impressive inside the arc as well, knocking down floaters and pull up jumpers en route to a 25 point night on 10-17 shooting.
Also adding 25 points was Devin Booker, though the Lakers did a good job of making him work hard and contesting his shots well without fouling. Booker needed 24 shot attempts to get those 25 points and only took three shots from the foul line all night.
Despite those dual 25-point efforts from Booker and Bridges, however, the Lakers still found themselves within 6 points with 3:42 left in the game after an altercation stemming from a Booker flagrant foul against Austin Reaves and a double-technical between Patrick Beverley and DeAndre Ayton -- in which Beverley got ejected for shoving Ayton to the ground -- led to a four-point possession for the Lakers.
The Lakers were never able to get closer than six, however, as the Suns outlasted them with timely shot making and a couple of key defensive stops when the Lakers began pressing against the dwindling game clock. Credit Phoenix for their hot shooting and getting a good home win.
But also credit is due to the Lakers for battling as hard as they did and working their gameplan about as well as they could have, but just coming up short offensively. Led by AD's big night, strong contributions from Lonnie Walker (24 points on 8-18 shooting) and Russell Westbrook (21 points on 8-20 shooting), the Lakers dominated in the paint and even when they didn't score inside their aggression earned them trips to the foul line. But a rough shooting night from beyond the arc (4-22 overall) in contrast to the Suns hot shooting was too much to overcome.
The Lakers will look to get back on track when they travel to San Antonio on Friday to face the Spurs.