Teams check out regularly. They go through the motions, they expect to lose, they don’t care to win, and blowouts happen.
But last night was not just your ordinary blowout.
In both teams’ last game before the All-Star break, the Lakers (who as a franchise are attempting to tank anyway as they try and keep their lottery pick) gave little to no effort to win as the Phoenix Suns used this final opportunity before the break themselves to play together before the roster is potentially gutted.
Intimate details of the game are unnecessary in this case because the matchup was so utterly one-sided. Phoenix won each quarter by no fewer than three points – the first time all season they have won all four quarters, and the first time overall since October 30, 2015 vs Portland.
By not fighting the Suns at all, the Lakers gave Phoenix players an opportunity to set several season-high’s and eventually a very exciting franchise best.
In their victory the Suns:
– Scored a season-high in points with 137 (their most since scoring 137 in triple-overtime against the Lakers on March 22, 2011, and their most in a non-overtime game since scoring 152 vs the Minnesota Timberwolves on March 16, 2010 – Lou Amundson scored 20 in that one)
– Set a season-high with 32 assists
– Set a season-high in FG% with 55.7%
– Set a season-high in fastbreak points with 33
– Grabbed 59 rebounds which was the second highest of the season, and tied for 9th most rebounds recorded by any team this year.
– Star point guard Eric Bledsoe recorded his third career triple-double with 31 points, 10 rebounds, and 13 assists, the first Phoenix Suns triple-double since Brandon Knight recorded a 31p, 10r, and 15a game on November 15, 2015.
– Rookie dunk sensation Derrick Jones Jr. (the Suns’ Slam Dunk Competition Representative this weekend) recorded his first dunk of his NBA career. Then his second. And moments later, his third.
– Recorded a 36-point victory which was the largest for the Suns this season
– And then there was this:
Devin Booker scored 21 points by halftime and finished the game with 23, shooting 64.3% from the field and draining 4-7 from beyond the arc.
Alex Len dominated the low-post scoring 15 points and grabbing 9 boards. Finally coming off the bench with a little over four minutes remaining, Alan Williams bagged 6 bOates, finishing 4th among all players on the night.
Brandon Knight proved to the league that he can still play, recording 11 points and 4 assists in 20 minutes. This may have been Knight’s last game for Phoenix, although it also may not have been enough to convince any team of being a taker in the Brandon Knight sweepstakes.
For the Lakers, the backcourt duo of D’Angelo Russell and Lou Williams each scored 21 points, leading theright team, as they combined for 42p, 6r, and 6a. Julius Randle recorded the Lakers’ only double-double of the night, finishing with 13p and 10r.
Oh, and in case you missed it: