NBA 2018-19: Los Angeles Lakers hit low point after loss to Phoenix Suns
Phoenix lost the first three games this season against the Lakers by double digits, entered the game with the NBA's worst record at 12-51, and had lost 18 of their last 19 games.
The Suns matched up against LeBron by throwing 7-foot-1 rookie Deandre Ayton at him, and Ayton was able to cause problems when guarding him. Ayton also had a great night with a double-double effort, scoring 26 points and pulling down 10 rebounds.
Normally, a team that really wants to be in the playoffs and has a goal in mind is going to put forth maximum level effort on the defensive end. We certainly don't see that on a nightly basis from this Laker team.
The offense hasn't been a problem for this team. Kyle Kuzma can ball, and Brandon Ingram has been balling as of late as well. LeBron continues to get his numbers each game, racking up 27 points, 16 assists and 9 rebounds in the loss.
As he does time and time again, LeBron tried to take over this game late for the Lakers, but the Suns' defense was just too much for the team to handle.
With Los Angeles trailing by 14 with 6:06 to play, LeBron converted a three-point play, hit a three, and then passed to Brandon Ingram for a three in the corner.
Following a dunk, he had the Lakers in a good position, only down 112-109. Los Angeles wouldn't get any closer than that and lost a game that was much needed while in the fight for a playoff spot.
After the game, LeBron said:
"We needed this game for obvious reasons, it's just unfortunate with the opportunities we've had that we haven't been able to seize those opportunities."
Instead of cracking under the pressure as anyone and everyone would expect, Phoenix shut down the Lakers and made six free throws in the last 52 seconds of the game.
On the topic of free throws, LeBron shot 3-7 from the free throw line, missing two key shots that would've made it a one-possession game with about 47 seconds to go.
The schedule won't get any easier for the Lakers, as they get ready to take on the Clippers on Monday.
That game will be followed by games against the Nuggets and Celtics, and games against the Raptors, Bucks, Thunder, Warriors, Jazz, and Blazers in the coming weeks to close out the season.
Los Angeles is currently four and a half games back of the 8 seed in the Western Conference with just 19 games to go in the regular season.