PHOENIX (AP) — Anthony Davis scored 34 points, Dennis Schroder added 24 and the Los Angeles Lakers held on for a hard-fought 109-102 win over the Phoenix Suns in Game 2 of the first-round playoff series on Tuesday night.
It was a big bounce-back game for the Lakers, and especially Davis, who struggled in Game 1 and took personal responsibility for the team’s 99-90 loss on Sunday. His 3-pointer with 2:15 left on Tuesday put Los Angeles up 98-92 and ended a late Suns rally.
LeBron James added 23 points and nine assists. Davis made 18 of 21 free throws and added 10 rebounds and seven assists.
Game 3 is on Thursday in Los Angeles.
The Lakers had a 63-48 lead after a 10-1 run to open the third quarter. James splashed home a 3-pointer to start the scoring and Los Angeles looked like it might put this one away comfortably.
But the Suns slowly clawed their way back. Cam Johnson made two 3-pointers late in the third quarter, including one at the buzzer, to pull Phoenix within 79-72 heading to the fourth.
Jae Crowder made a 3-pointer from the corner and was fouled, converting the free throw for a four-point play that pulled the Suns within 84-83 with 8:09 left in the fourth. Crowder had missed his first 11 3-pointers in the series before that attempt.
Deandre Ayton’s dunk off an offensive rebound with six minutes left put the Suns up 88-86, which was their first lead since the opening minutes. But they couldn’t hold on, struggling to guard James and Davis in the final minutes.
Devin Booker led the Suns with 31 points and made all 17 of his free throws. Ayton had 22 points, 10 rebounds and shot 11 of 13 from the field.
Los Angeles is physically much bigger than Phoenix with Andre Drummond, Davis, James and Marc Gasol all standing 6-foot-9 or taller and tipping the scales at 250 pounds or more. The only player on the Suns’ roster close to the size is Ayton. Unlike Game 1, the Lakers usually took advantage of that difference.
The Lakers jumped out to a 30-24 lead after the first quarter, scoring 12 points off of seven Suns turnovers. Los Angeles took a 53-47 advantage into halftime.
Drummond was a force before the break with 11 points and 10 rebounds, including five on the offensive glass. Schroder led all players with 16 points. Ayton had 14 points on 7-of-7 shooting for the Suns.
There was a announced sellout crowd at Phoenix Suns Arena, which was capped at 11,919 because of COVID-19 restrictions. That’s about two-thirds of the 18,000-plus capacity.
JUST FOR KICKS
The Suns had to make a quick lineup change when Crowder was called for two early fouls. The second one was painful for the Phoenix forward.
Crowder was whistled for a foul on a Davis jump shot, then he took a shot to the groin when Davis kicked his leg out on the follow through. Davis was called for a Flagrant 1 foul. Crowder remained in the game to shoot the free throws, but was then replaced by Dario Saric.
Lakers: Forwards Devontae Cacok and Kostas Antetokounmpo were inactive. … Gasol played 20 minutes after not playing in Game 1. He hit a 3-pointer on his first shot.
Suns: Paul wasn’t listed on the Game 2 injury report despite his shoulder issues in Game 1. He played with a thin wrap around much of his right shoulder … Forward Abdel Nader (knee) was out. … Cam Payne finished with 19 points and seven assists after getting ejected in Game 1.
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