As the All-Star break concluded, the Los Angeles Lakers knew that they had to step up in order to have any chance to make the NBA Playoffs this season.
Ayton finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds in a 118-109 win over the Lakers Saturday night at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona.
The Lakers trailed by as many as 19 in the fourth quarter and cut it to 3 after a driving dunk by James (27 points, 16 assists, 9 rebounds) with 1:14 left.
LeBron's groin injury might have been a fluke, but for a player of his age and mileage, is very possibly a sign of more injuries to come. With Lonzo, the Lakers have more depth and ball movement and it's about time all of us begin realizing how essential Ball is to our team.
Do you want to see Los Angeles select in the mid-teens in this upcoming draft and not have the opportunity to draft number one overall or transfer the right to pick Zion Williamson to another franchise other than Phoenix?
"We need to be better", Walton said afterward.
It was the second straight loss for the Lakers, their fourth in five games and statistically the worst team a LeBron James team has ever lost to when he plays.
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The Lakers fell to 30-33 and are now 4.5 games out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
"I actually felt a lot better than I thought I was going to feel once I got on the floor but as a collective group, we didn't always have it".
"'We needed this game for obvious reasons", James said.
Then there was James' inbounds gaffe when he threw the ball off the back of the backboard, resulting in a turnover.
"Obviously there's something wrong with this team, and it's up to us to try to fix it, but not really sure right now", said Kuzma.
The Suns got off to a much better start in the season series finale against the Lakers, leading by 10 and making 13 of 19 shots in the first quarter. "All the homies hittin' me, blowin' me up right now".