LeBron James scores 32 points, Lakers rally to beat Suns 122-119 to snap 3-game skid
By DAVID BRANDT – AP Sports Writer
PHOENIX (AP) — LeBron James looked like an aging veteran for a few seconds Friday night, jumping around the baseline and grabbing his lower left leg after being fouled in the first quarter.
James scored 32 points, D’Angelo Russell had 19 and the Los Angeles Lakers snapped a three-game losing streak, beating the Phoenix Suns 122-119 in the NBA In-Season Tournament final for both teams.
“It was good to get over the tree at this early stage of the season,” James said. feel good.”
The 38-year-old, breaking age in his 21st season, had another vintage performance, shooting 11 of 17 from the field, including 3 of 4 on 3s. He added 11 rebounds and six assists in 36 minutes.
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Kevin Durant led the Suns with 38 points and Bradley Beal added 24, including 20 in the first half. Devin Booker missed his fourth straight game due to a strained right calf.
Austin Reaves made a layup with 9:25 left – part of a 14-0 run – to give the Lakers their first lead of the second half at 97-96. Reaves added a pair of mid-range jumpers in the fourth to help Los Angeles stay ahead.
Cam Reddish had 17 points, including a corner 3 on a pass from James that put the Lakers up 118-113 with 1:10 left. Los Angeles grabbed three offensive rebounds at the post before Reddish made the shot.
Lakers coach Darvin Ham made a change in the starting lineup, starting Reddish and after Reaves came off the bench. Both had good games and Reaves was still a vital part of the rotation, playing 35 minutes and closing out the game.
“It was a good win for the team,” Ham said. “A lot of what we saw in the second half, that has to be our identity.
James came up limping after being fouled in the first quarter, grabbing his lower left leg. The 19-time All-Star said he took a knee to the shin and received medical treatment on the bench before returning for the start of the second quarter.
He looked fine the rest of the evening, helping orchestrate the comeback. Los Angeles shot 9 of 17 (53%) from 3-point range in the second half.
Durant scored 15 points in the third quarter as the Suns built a single-digit lead. Reddish hit a 3 at the buzzer to cut Phoenix’s advantage to 96-89 heading into the fourth.
“They controlled the game from there,” Durant said. “The momentum shifted in their favor when they started knocking down their threes.”
LA’s Anthony Davis returned after missing one game with a hip injury and had 18 points, 11 rebounds and four assists.
Beal – who was making his Suns debut – made a layup in traffic at the halftime buzzer to give the Suns a 63-55 lead after leading by as many as 14. James had 19 points in the half.
Lakers: Host Portland on Sunday night.
Suns: Host Oklahoma City on Sunday night.
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