After missing the first two preseason games, LeBron James and Anthony Davis returned to action for the LA Lakers against the Phoenix Suns. The duo played limited minutes but that was enough to leave an impact as the Purple and Gold won 112-107. Meanwhile, Chris Paul and co. slumped to their third straight defeat and have a few things to work on before the start of the 2020-21 campaign.
LA Lakers vs Phoenix Suns: Key points to note
Both the LA Lakers and Phoenix Suns put their depth to use in this game. While the rotations still weren't exactly similar to what you'll see during the regular season, there were a few inferences to be drawn based on the performances on display. On that note, let us look at five takeaways from this preseason game.
#1 Full strength LA Lakers look almost unbeatable
It's really hard to find a flaw in the current LA Lakers' roster. With LeBron James and Anthony Davis starting today, the Purple and Gold dominated the game on both ends of the court in the first half. Yes, the shooting accuracy needs to improve but their good defense comes in handy.
All of the LA Lakers' starting five today could stretch the floor, their frontcourt could dominate the paint, while LeBron and Marc Gasol were impeccable with the playmaking. They even held the Phoenix Suns to just 43 points after two quarters.
#2 Phoenix Suns struggle for consistency
The Phoenix Suns have shown as much defensive mettle as one can expect to see in the preseason. It's the offensive side of things where they would've liked to do better. Monty Williams' men have shot in the lower 40s in each of their three preseason games so far.
The Phoenix Suns have the needed quality to explode. In this game against LA Lakers itself, they managed 39 points in the third quarter alone. However, they followed it up with 24 in the next 12 minutes which allowed the Purple and Gold to comfortably script a comeback. Any player not named Devin Booker has struggled with consistency while shooting the ball for the Suns.
#3 Kyle Kuzma is ready for a leap
While Talen Horton-Tucker has stolen the limelight, Kyle Kuzma has quietly gone on to have an impressive preseason. He's averaged 21.5 points on 46% shooting from downtown across the three games while playing a whopping 38.6 minutes per game. How's that for fitness?
In the first two games, Kuzma also showcased his playmaking skills for LA Lakers. He hasn't lost the defensive flair he found inside the NBA bubble. He also led all players with 23 points against Phoenix Suns.
#4 Deandre Ayton finally shines offensively
While Devin Booker is the Phoenix Suns' go-to scorer, Deandre Ayton needs to play his part inside the paint to give his side the edge going forward. Ayton managed the boards and protected the rim fairly well in the first two preseason games but his shooting boots were missing.
Thankfully, he was on the mark against LA Lakers, scoring 21 points on 80% shooting from the field. Chris Paul's playmaking helped a large deal in this regard.
#5 Dennis Schroder avoids injury scare
Dennis Schroder hasn't featured too prominently in the preseason for LA Lakers but is still expected to play a big role for the Purple and Gold. The runner up in the 2020 Sixth Man of the Year race managed seven points and three assists against Phoenix Suns in limited minutes but tweaked his left ankle and exited the game.
In the post-game comments, however, he assured reporters that it was nothing to worry about. With games coming thick and fast over the next two months, the Purple and Gold will be hoping to avoid key injuries to their mainstays.
Published 17 Dec 2020, 11:32 IST