Brandon Knight notched his first career triple-double to help the Phoenix Suns pull away late, beating down the Kobe Bryant-less Los Angeles Lakers, 120-101.
The Lakers were playing in a tight contest until Phoenix erupted late in the game behind Knight’s brilliance. The four-year combo guard recorded 30 points, 15 assists, and 10 rebounds to lead Phoenix’s late-game charge.
“Fourth quarter – we just had a complete mental lapse, we didn’t play great basketball and it cost us,” Lou Williams said after the contest.
Knight’s backcourt teammate, Eric Bledsoe, added 21 points, three assists, and two steals, as the two combined for 51 points.
Metta World Peace took Bryant’s place in the starting lineup, scoring a quick 10 points to begin the contest. However, he only scored two more points the rest of the way to finish with 12.
Jordan Clarkson led all scorers for the Lakers once again, putting in 20 points on an efficient 50 percent shooting.
In fact, the Lakers as a unit shot 48.1 percent from the floor, but they allowed Phoenix to shoot 48.4 percent after holding them to just over 40 percent at the half.
Turnovers were also a major issue for Los Angeles, committing 17 of them which resulted into 24 points for Phoenix on the other end.
Offensive rebounds and second chance points also hurt the Lakers tonight. They were out-rebounded, 50-37, and gave up 18 offensive boards.
Phoenix’s bench, who is ranked bottom 10 in the league, was incredible, scoring 55 points. T.J. Warren paved the way with 19 points and four rebounds. Archie Goodwin followed suit with 12 points and six rebounds, while Mirza Teletovic added 11 points and four rebounds. Alex Len scored 10 points and snatched six boards, and even rookie Devin Booker put in a three in just two minutes of play.
Lakers bench received terrific production from the duo of Williams and Nick Young who scored 16 and 11 points, respectively. Outside of those two, they didn’t get much else from the second unit. Although Marcelo Huertas did score seven, he had a couple of costly live-ball miscues and played porous defense.
Julius Randle had a rough shooting night, going 2 of 6 for four points and five rebounds. He got into early foul trouble and couldn’t find any rhythm the remainder of the game. Rookie Larry Nance Jr. also struggled, missing all three of his attempts.
“Mentally, I think we took a step back,” Randle said.
The masked man, Roy Hibbert shot with efficiency, however. He went 6 of 9 for a total of 14 points, seven rebounds, and team-high three assists.
There is no typo there; Hibbert’s three assists were a team-high which comes to show how minimal L.A.’s ball movement was. They concluded with 12 total assists as a team on 37 makes.
“They just outsmarted us today, shared the ball, out-hustled us. We should learn from this game,” Young said.
Rookie point guard D’Angelo Russell finished with 13 points on 13 shots to go along with four rebounds and two assists.
“I just thought he didn’t play well. He didn’t come out with the type of energy you need to come out with against those guys,” Coach Byron Scott said about the 19-year-old.
The Lakers have now dropped nine of the last 10 meetings to the Suns, including five straight. They have fallen to 2-9 on the season and suffered their fifth consecutive road loss. After a back to back, the Lakers will now receive three full days of rest before hosting the Toronto Raptors on Friday, November 20.
The Suns, meanwhile, have improved to 6-4 and are embracing a three-game winning streak. Their four-game homestand continues Wednesday night when they clash against the Chicago Bulls, a game that will be televised nationally on ESPN.