PHOENIX — The Los Angeles Lakers had been reeling late within the fourth quarter on Tuesday evening. The Phoenix Suns had made an enormous run, their residence crowd was in a frenzy and the defending NBA champions had been in peril of taking place two video games to none within the first spherical.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis weren’t about to let that occur.
James made a turnaround 18-foot jumper, Davis adopted with a 3-pointer and the Lakers held on for a hard-fought 109-102 win over the Suns in Game 2 of the playoff sequence.
“This was a must win,” Davis mentioned. “We all came out with that mindset and we were able to get the job done.”
It was an enormous bounce-back sport for the Lakers, and particularly Davis, who struggled in Game 1 and took private accountability for the crew’s 99-90 loss on Sunday. His essential 3-pointer with 2:15 left on Tuesday put Los Angeles up 98-92 and ended a late Suns rally.
Davis made 18 of 21 free throws and added 10 rebounds and 7 assists. James added 23 factors and 9 assists.
“Those are two of the top five players in the NBA,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel mentioned. “We have a formula where those guys carry a big load, especially at crunch time.”
James mentioned he wasn’t shocked Davis bounced again rapidly. He mentioned the Lakers made it a degree to get him concerned as a lot as potential.
“Get him the ball early, often and always,” James mentioned. “It’s that simple.”
Game 3 is on Thursday in Los Angeles and the Lakers abruptly have plenty of momentum.
“That’s what I came here for,” James mentioned. “To be able to play a playoff game in front of the Lakers faithful.”
The Lakers had a 63-48 lead after a 10-1 run to open the third quarter. James splashed residence a 3-pointer to start out the scoring and Los Angeles seemed prefer it would possibly put this one away comfortably.
But the Suns slowly clawed their means again. Cam Johnson made two 3-pointers late within the third quarter, together with one on the buzzer, to tug Phoenix inside 79-72 heading to the fourth.
Jae Crowder made a 3-pointer from the nook and was fouled, changing the free throw for a four-point play that pulled the Suns inside 84-83 with 8:09 left within the fourth. Crowder had missed his first 11 3-pointers within the sequence earlier than that try.
Deandre Ayton’s dunk off an offensive rebound with six minutes left put the Suns up 88-86, which was their first lead for the reason that opening minutes. But they couldn’t maintain on, struggling to protect James and Davis within the last minutes.
“We’ve got to do a better job of holding leads, but we showed we’ll keep fighting,” Davis mentioned.
Devin Booker led the Suns with 31 factors and made all 17 of his free throws. Ayton had 22 factors, 10 rebounds and shot 11 of 13 from the sector.
Los Angeles is bodily a lot greater than Phoenix with Andre Drummond, Davis, James and Marc Gasol all standing 6-foot-9 or taller and tipping the scales at 250 kilos or extra. The solely participant on the Suns’ roster near the scale is Ayton. Unlike Game 1, the Lakers normally took benefit of that distinction.
“LeBron and AD made big plays but we had our chances,” Suns coach Monty Williams mentioned. “The first quarter damage us, turnovers within the first quarter.
The Lakers jumped out to a 30-24 lead after the primary quarter, scoring 12 factors off of seven Suns turnovers. Los Angeles took a 53-47 benefit into halftime.
Drummond was a drive earlier than the break with 11 factors and 10 rebounds, together with 5 on the offensive glass. L.A.’s Dennis Schroder led all gamers with 16 factors. Ayton had 14 factors on 7-of-7 capturing for the Suns.
There was a introduced sellout crowd at Phoenix Suns Arena, which was capped at 11,919 due to COVID-19 restrictions. That’s about two-thirds of the 18,000-plus capability.
Suns level guard Chris Paul completed with six factors and 5 assists in 23 minutes whereas coping with a shoulder harm that occurred in Sunday’s Game 1. The 11-time All-Star didn’t play within the last minutes when the Suns tried to make a push for the win.
Paul had some good moments, however clearly wasn’t at one hundred pc.
“I took him out,” Williams mentioned. “That was all me looking at him hold his arm the way he was holding it, I just couldn’t watch him run like that. He was trying to make plays, he battled, he is a warrior. We all know that.”