Suns outshine Lakers in Kobe Bryant’s last game in Phoenix
In Kobe Bryant’s first game of the season, and last game of his career in Phoenix, the records of the two teams didn’t matter. With a playoff atmosphere, the Suns sent Bryant on his way to retirement with a loss. The Suns beat the Lakers by double figures, and a final score of 119-107.
In a game that was largely overshadowed by number 24, the first quarter was quite forgettable for the Suns. They shot a terrible 7-24 in the first quarter, and ended the quarter with 16 points compared to the Lakers’ 22. Ronnie Price was able to help spur a run for the Suns, hitting a three pointer at the end of the first quarter, and another in the second quarter to get them within a point. Mirza Teletovic was able to find his own three point shot, and helped the Suns tie up the game on the following possession. The Suns couldn’t hold up on the offensive end, and found themselves in another hole in the second quarter. Devin Booker was able to find some nice passing lanes in the second quarter, and got nice passes to Alex Len and Jon Leuer for easy baskets near the rim. A combination of playmaking and scoring for Booker helped bring the Suns to a tie game at halftime with a score of 47.
Booker continued to make plays in the third quarter, finding Len for another dunk, and then followed it up with a fast break lay up. After a dunk by Leuer, and a Teletovic three, the Suns found themselves with their own six point lead in the third quarter. The game continued to heat up in the quarter, with deep threes from Teletovic and Booker, as well as some trash talk between Brandon Knight and Julius Randle. After scoring 47 in the first half, the Suns scored 36 points in the third quarter to give themselves an 83-74 lead. After being up by as many as 15 in the fourth quarter, the Suns found themselves on the wrong end of an 11-0 run. P.J. Tucker and Leuer were the Suns who stepped up to keep the lead at six. Two shots from deep from Knight gave the Suns another double digit lead, which they held for the rest of the game. The Suns ended the season series up 3-1, and sent Bryant off in Phoenix with a 119-107 win. After shooting 7-24 in the first quarter, the Suns finished the night shooting 47-93(50.5%) from the field, and 13-28(46.4%) from the three point line. The Suns had a season high 31 assists tonight, and out-rebounded the Lakers 52-41.
Brandon Knight added in 25 points for the Suns, and added in eight rebounds, seven assists,one steal, two blocks, and only committed a single turnover.
Jon Leuer scored a season high 22 points in the starting lineup for the Suns. He hit 8-15 from the field, two of his four threes, and all four free throws. Jonny Badger added in 14 rebounds, a steal, and a block.