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Los Angeles Lakers Open Tournament With Impressive Win In Phoenix Suns

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In the NBA in-season tournament opener for both teams on Friday, the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the host Phoenix Suns 122-119 to snap a three-game losing run led by LeBron James, who finished with 32 points and 11 rebounds, and D’Angelo Russell, who added 19 points and nine assists.

Due to a hip injury, Anthony Davis missed Wednesday’s game against Houston but returned for the Lakers, netting 18 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Austin Reaves contributed 15 points after playing as a reserve for the first time this season, while Cam Reddish scored 17 points in a rare start.

For the first time in six attempts, Los Angeles triumphed away from home.

Phoenix’s brief two-game winning streak came to an end as Kevin Durant scored 38 points with nine rebounds and Bradley Beal added 24 points in his second game of the year. For the seventh time in the previous eight games, Devin Booker (calf) was not available for the Suns.

For the Suns, Eric Gordon finished with 13 points, Keita Bates-Diop had 11 points, and Jusuf Nurkic had 14 points and nine rebounds.

Late in the third quarter, Durant scored nine baskets in a space of 71 seconds, giving Phoenix a 92-81 lead.

However, the Lakers closed the gap to 96-89 going into the fourth quarter and opened the frame with an 11-0 run to take a 100-96 lead with 8:57 remaining. Since the game’s first five minutes, it was their first lead.

James’ layup put Los Angeles ahead 107-101 with 5:48 left, but with 2:23 left, Phoenix closed the gap to 115-113.

After three turnovers and three offensive rebounds during a play, the Lakers gained some breathing room when Reddish made a 3-pointer with 1:10 left to give them a 118-113 lead.

The Lakers were outscored 34–25 in the first quarter, which added to their misery. After nine games, Los Angeles currently has a minus-93 point differential in the first quarter.

After outrebounding the Lakers 32-18 in the first two quarters, the Suns lead 63-55 at the break.

The Lakers take on the Memphis Grizzlies in their first home game of the in-season tournament on Tuesday. Next Friday, the Suns travel to Utah to play the Utah Jazz in their next in-season tournament matchup.

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