LeBron James scored 32 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, D’Angelo Russell added 19 points with nine assists, and the Los Angeles Lakers ended a three-game losing streak with a 122-119 victory over the host Phoenix Suns in the NBA in-season tournament opener for both teams on Friday.
Anthony Davis scored 18 points with 11 rebounds for the Lakers after missing Wednesday’s game at Houston with a hip injury. Cam Reddish scored 17 points in a rare start and Austin Reaves added 15 after moving into a reserve role for the first time this season.
Los Angeles won on the road for the first time in six tries.
Kevin Durant scored 38 points with nine rebounds and Bradley Beal added 24 points in his second game of the season as Phoenix saw a brief two-game winning streak come to an end. The Suns were playing without Devin Booker (calf) for the seventh time in the last eight games.
Jusuf Nurkic scored 14 points with nine rebounds for the Suns, while Keita Bates-Diop had 11 points and Eric Gordon had 13.
Durant scored nine points in a span of 71 seconds late in the third quarter to give Phoenix a 92-81 lead.
But the Lakers pulled within 96-89 heading into the fourth quarter and used an 11-0 run to open the final period for a 100-96 advantage with 8:57 left. It was their first lead since five minutes into the game.
Los Angeles was up 107-101 with 5:48 remaining after a James layup, but Phoenix pulled within 115-113 with 2:23 left.
The Lakers opened some breathing room on a possession that included three missed shots and three offensive rebounds before a Reddish 3-pointer with 1:10 remaining for a 118-113 lead.
The Lakers’ first-quarter woes continued when they were outscored 34-25 in the opening period. Los Angeles now has a minus-93 point differential in the first quarter through nine games.
The Suns led 63-55 at halftime, outrebounding the Lakers 32-18 in the first two quarters.
The Lakers play their first home game of the in-season tournament Tuesday against the Memphis Grizzlies. The Suns play their next in-season tournament game next Friday on the road against the Utah Jazz.
–Field Level Media
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