In a battle of Western Conference heavyweights, the Phoenix Suns ran away from the undermanned Los Angeles Lakers 111-94 on Sunday night in a road contest for L.A.
The Lakers played without the starting frontcourt of Marc Gasol (returning from NBA health and safety protocol), Anthony Davis (calf strain) and LeBron James (right high ankle sprain) for only the second time this season.
The Lakers are 0-2 when Gasol, Davis and James do not play. The last time that happened was a 123-120 loss the Sacramento Kings on March 3, the last game before the All-Star break.
Wearing a walking boot on his injured right foot, James travelled with the rest of teammates to the Phoenix game on the road.
Phoenix silky shooting guard Devin Booker led the way for the Suns, finishing with 26 points and nine rebounds. Deandre Ayton added 266 points and eight rebounds.
Top player: Montrezl Harrell finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds, helping to fill the scoring void with James and Davis out. It was Harrell's sixth double-double of the season.
On a two-game losing streak, the Lakers dropped to 28-15 with the loss, while the Suns improved to 28-13.
What I liked: Dennis Schröder stayed aggressive and played hard, leading the Lakers with 22 points. Phoenix guard Chris Paul messed around and got a triple-double -- 11 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists on the evening, surpassing the 10,000 assist mark for his career.
What I didn’t like: The Lakers shot a dismal 41 percent from the field -- including 20 percent from beyond he arc -- struggling to get consistent, good looks in the half-court offense with James, Davis and Gasol out.
Injuries: James remains out indefinitely and Davis will be re-evaluated at the end of the month. Gasol is expected to be out a few more games as he works his way back into game safe after being cleared from the NBA’s health and safety protocol.
They said it: “He plays with great energy. He's a pogo stick around the basket, so he gives us a dynamic of verticality with his lob-catching ability offensively. And defensively he's really picked up what we're asking him to do in our pick-and-roll defense and our coverages, and provides some length at the basket from a shot-blocking standpoint. So he's played well for us."– Lakers head coach Frank Vogel on center Damian Jones, whose second, 10-day contract ran out, with the Lakers not signing him on for the rest of the season. Jones is now an unrestricted free agent, but still could possibly return to the Lakers at some point.