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Lakers Beat Suns In Impressive Performance




Moments like this are when the season is at its toughest, pressure mounting and stakes rising. Now is when it gets toughest, when the Lakers’ problems are either tolerable or fatal.

And with the clock ticking on their season and every game’s importance escalating, the Lakers needed to conquer a familiar rival, one that has dominated matchups between the two for more than two seasons.

The Game

Facing the Phoenix Suns, whom the Lakers have defeated just once in their last nine meetings, the team was going to have to be close to its best, the mistakes meaning more as each possession took on extra weight.

You could feel that inside the building, the crowd murmuring when a turnover would lead to a layup or when a free throw would rim out.

And, when the horn sounded, the celebration felt earned, a big win at a big time, the Lakers beating the Suns 122-111.

Davis scored 27, Russell added 26 and Austin Reaves finished with 25. A day after saying he wanted his team to live in the paint, coach Darvin Ham’s Lakers attempted 46 free throws to the Suns’ 20 attempts.

Push for Playoffs

The Lakers have 10 games to clinch a playoff spot or qualify for the play-in tournament, and coach Darvin Ham says there’s no pressure, only focus.“It’s a huge weapon we can totally take advantage of,” Ham said. “ … If you don’t have an open three, you have to take the ball downhill to the rim.”

Change in Lineup

It all came on the night when the Lakers changed directions in a fairly big way. Ham grinned as he hinted that, maybe, he had a change coming before the Lakers game Wednesday night. “We got a little something up our sleeve tonight,” Ham said pregame.

The little something turned out to be fairly major, Ham switching the Lakers’ starting lineup for the first time post trade deadline without injuries playing a factor. Reaves moved into the first five after scoring a career-high 35 points in the Lakers’ win Sunday against the Magic, the two days off between games giving Ham and the coaching staff time to make the move.

“I felt like it made all the sense in the world,” Ham said. It was Reaves’ first start since Jan. 4, and he finished with a career-best 11 assists.

Playoffs race

“It’s going to be hectic,” Reaves said. “But this is why you play the game. You want high-pressure moments and you really want to play under the lights.”

The spotlight was on Wednesday — and the Lakers didn’t run from it. The win allowed the Lakers to move in the right direction Wednesday, the pack in the Western Conference as tight as ever with three games in the standings separating the fourth-place Suns from the 12th-place Pelicans.


The Lakers beat the Suns 122-111 with an impressive performance from Davis, Russell and Reaves. They have 10 games left to clinch a playoff spot or qualify for the play-in tournament. The Lakers changed their starting lineup for the first time since the trade deadline, and it worked in their favor. With the playoffs race heating up, every game matters, and the Lakers are ready to push under pressure.



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