What were King James and KD talking there? About winning the Olympics 2024 together?

The Los Angeles Lakers’ inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament trip came to an end Friday evening when they met the Phoenix Suns.

The Lakers defeated the Suns 122-119 in their first victory of the season, with Anthony Davis returning to the lineup after a one-game absence. With three games remaining, the Lakers’ chances of winning Group A remain strong.

Darvin Ham opted to replace Austin Reaves with Cam Reddish in order to offer the Lakers with a more substantial lineup. Reddish had an early success when he stole the ball and hit a corner three-pointer. Given their sluggish start, the Lakers’ 13-7 lead early in the game justified their personnel change.

Following his return from a back ailment, Bradley Beal helped Phoenix keep fighting in its second game and got off to a fast start. When Kevin Durant began executing three-point plays, the Lakers’ early lead was swiftly gone.

The Suns gained traction and increased their lead to double digits for the first time, leading the Lakers to struggle offensively and lose enthusiasm.

Los Angeles trailed 34-25 entering the second quarter after LeBron James seemed to have hurt his calf. He was eventually able to return, and his playmaking, along with Austin Reaves’, aided the Lakers’ resurgence.

Despite the Lakers’ inability to prevent offensive glass turnovers, which has been a pattern all season, the Suns maintained a double-digit lead.

The Lakers were lethargic in the first half, save from a few tries by Taurean Prince and D’Angelo Russell. As a result, Los Angeles went into the halftime locker room losing 63-55 after a Beal layup at the buzzer, as James went into an offensive trance to end the second quarter.

After Davis opened the third quarter with a quick bucket, Jusuf Nurkic answered with five consecutive points, cutting the lead to four points. James then scored a pair of goals at the line to retake the lead.

Following that, LeBron James became tremendously productive with successive three-pointers, doing everything he could to keep the Lakers in the game. Russell continued his stellar performance by assisting teammates such as Davis in converting easy points.

 

Durant nailed consecutive three-pointers and a three-point play to push Phoenix’s lead to double digits just as the Lakers appeared to be making momentum. Thankfully, Reddish’s 3-pointer after the buzzer sent the Lakers into the fourth quarter behind 96-79.

James assisted Reddish on a transition layup for Rui Hachimura, and the Lakers took the lead for the first time since the first quarter when he assisted on a transition three-pointer by Reaves.

After a Suns timeout, Reddish scored his third and final point, and Eric Gordon capped the run with a floater. The Lakers’ lead was stretched to five points thanks to Christian Wood’s third three, forcing Frank Vogel to call another timeout.

Durant’s clutch buckets aided the Suns in reclaiming momentum and preserving an exciting game finish.

With one minute remaining, Reddish scored another massive corner triple to give his team a 118-113 lead over the Lakers, who struggled to handle Durant in the midrange.

After the Lakers made the key stop, Prince completed a layup to put the game out of reach.

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