Without Kobe Bryant available, the Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Phoenix Suns 115-110 on Monday night, which wasn't entirely unexpected. The Lakers, however, did not exactly roll over and play dead from the opening tip.
Jeremy Lin put together one of his best performances as a starting point guard, as the 26-year-old aggressively attacked, set up the offense and battled on the defensive end. It wasn't always pretty, though. At one point, Lin attacked the rim and felt the full force of landing on his tail bone. At another point, the point guard ran into the official, and the turnover resulted in a Suns' fast break on the other end.
Still, Lin played well on the whole and finished with 10 points and 10 assists with three steals and three turnovers.
Truthfully, the Lakers surprised viewers by finishing the first half tied with Phoenix. In the third quarter, however, turnovers reemerged as the Lakers' Achilles heel. In the first half, the Lakers committed eight turnovers. In the third quarter alone, the purple and gold gifted the Suns the basketball on seven separate occasions. By the end of the game, the Lakers had logged 23 turnovers.
At the end of three quarters, the Lakers trailed by 10 points.
In the fourth quarter, the Lakers would fall down big time. The difference in class began to show, and the Suns suddenly took a 19-point advantage with 6:31 to play in the game. Thanks largely to a late rally fueled by Nick Young, the Lakers cut the lead to only six points with 2:59 to play.
Young had been quiet for most of the night, but the 29-year-old streaky shooter notched 16 points in the final period to finish with a team-high 24 points.
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In the final three minutes, the Suns outplayed the Lakers with Goran Dragic leading the way. Dragic finished with 24 points, five assists and nine rebounds in another well-balanced performance. Along with Dragic, Isaiah Thomas poured in 24 points, swiped five steals and dished four assists off the bench.
The Lakers fell to 12-30 on the season, and the Suns improved to 25-18. Next, the Lakers practice on Phoenix on Tuesday and play the New Orleans Pelicans in Louisiana on Wednesday.