Dario Šarić scored 10 of his 21 factors within the fourth quarter, Mikal Bridges added 19 and the Phoenix Suns overcame Devin Booker’s ejection for a 114-104 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night time.
Booker scored 17 factors earlier than getting ejected for arguing with 7:10 left within the third quarter, however the Suns (23-11) nonetheless took cost down the stretch and cruised to their fifteenth victory in 18 video games. Phoenix additionally moved previous the defending NBA champions (24-12) into second place within the Western Convention by successful proportion after finishing an unbeaten three-game street journey.
“You gain confidence when a guy like Book doesn’t play or gets tossed, and you’re able to pull a game out on the road at the end of a trip,” Phoenix coach Monty Williams mentioned. “That’s a recipe for mailing it in … but that was a big-time character win. We got better. I think we played good tonight, but we probably got more confidence that we can pull a game out without Devin or Chris (Paul) saving the day.”
Booker was whistled for 2 technical fouls in remarkably fast succession, ensuing within the All-Star’s second ejection in simply over 5 weeks.
“We weren’t nervous,” Bridges mentioned of Booker’s sudden departure. “We knew we had to go out there and do what we do. We had to lock in for the rest of the game and do it for our teammates. … Our best player goes out, and we just kept staying the course and fighting all the way to the end. I feel it was a great road trip.”
LeBron James scored 38 factors for Los Angeles, which has misplaced 5 of seven with mounting damage issues. Dennis Schröder added 17 factors, however the Lakers could not sustain with out regulars Anthony Davis, Kyle Kuzma and Marc Gasol.
Kuzma was a late scratch with a bruised proper heel, whereas Gasol missed his first recreation underneath the NBA’s well being and security protocols. The Lakers dropped to 3-6 since Davis was injured throughout a loss to Denver on Valentine’s Day.
“We play so well the last two games, we get back into a rhythm, and then we find out today that two of our big guns were out,” James mentioned. “It’s definitely deflating, especially when you were playing poorly and then you get in a good rhythm.”
Moments earlier than Booker’s ejection, James and Lakers coach Frank Vogel obtained simultaneous technicals for arguing a no-call on Paul.
“I’m happy with how we’re competing,” Vogel mentioned. “Our guys are giving great effort and great hustle and great fight. You understand there’s a big picture here, and guys are keeping the big-picture mindset.”
Suns: Snapped their five-game skid towards the Lakers at Staples Heart since November 2017. … Booker changed Davis among the many NBA’s All-Star alternatives final week. … Šarić was questionable earlier than the sport with a proper ankle sprain.
Lakers: Talen Horton-Tucker had 16 factors, one off his profession excessive. … Alex Caruso had seven factors and 6 rebounds earlier than leaving late with neck spasms. … Damian Jones performed simply seven minutes towards his former staff.
LEBRON IN THE LANE
James, who led the NBA in assists final season, repeatedly scored within the paint towards Phoenix whereas taking an uncharacteristic off-ball position on many possessions. His highest-scoring efficiency since Jan. 25 nonetheless wasn’t sufficient for the Lakers, who’re struggling to generate offense with Davis sidelined by a calf damage.
James obtained no assist from two struggling swingmen: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 4 factors in 31 minutes, and Wesley Matthews went scoreless in 23 minutes.
Suns: Host the Golden State Warriors on Thursday.
Lakers: On the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday.
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