Lakers defeat Kevin Durant in LeBron James’ first game with him in five years

Lakers defeat Kevin Durant in LeBron James’ first game with him in five years

Kevin Durant and LeBron James performed approximately as expected. Less so for the remaining Phoenix Suns.

In their first regular-season meet in over five years, James and the Los Angeles Lakers overcame a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit on Thursday to defeat the Suns 100-95.

But it wasn’t the most visually appealing game. To begin with, the Suns were without Durant’s two most important teammates, Bradley Beal (back) and Devin Booker (foot), which is a bad development for a club already lacking in depth.

For the majority of the game, that didn’t appear to matter as Durant led the Suns to a double-digit lead at the end of the third quarter. In the second game of the season, the Suns’ offence collapsed to an incredible extent, but it would have made a huge statement for the potential contenders to defeat a fully-formed Lakers squad at home.

The Suns scored three points in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter and finished with three points. On a Durant three-pointer, three. Though they didn’t need to, the Lakers didn’t play their best game. During that ten minutes, they outscored the Suns 19-3, with Durant playing ice cold and none of his teammates looking like players on the playing field worthy of the NBA.

Poor communication, poor turnovers, and poor shooting. It was a series of mistakes, and playing against James and Anthony Davis is not advised. Jordan Goodwin scored the only basket in the last ten seconds of the quarter, as every other Suns player save Kevin went just 1-of-9 from the field.

James was only able to get the game-winning basket after Durant eventually warmed up to keep the Suns in it.

Durant finished with 39 points on 14-of-28 shooting (1-of-4 from 3-point range) and 11 rebounds, while James finished with 21 points, nine assists, eight rebounds, two steals, two blocks, and five turnovers. In the 39 minutes he played, the Suns outscored the Lakers by 18 points, and in the nine minutes he was not on the court, they were outscored by 23 points.

For those who thought the Suns had assembled the kind of supporting group necessary to weather superstar off-nights, it wasn’t the best night.

Throughout the game, Davis displayed great play, finishing with 30 points, 13 assists, 3 blocks, and 3 steals. That’s a somewhat strong response from a guy who took a lot of heat for not scoring any points in the second half of the Lakers’ season-opening defeat to the Denver Nuggets. However, James stated during the game that Davis was unfazed by the criticism:

“We don’t give a s* about criticism about AD. We don’t care. Nothing bothers us. AD doesn’t care. I don’t know if guys have figured that out,” James said. “AD does not care. He’s not on social media so he doesn’t see none of that crap. He rarely talks unless it’s to us. So we don’t give a s* about it. He definitely doesn’t. Just got out and do his job. We’re happy to have him.”

The Suns have three days to recuperate before playing the Utah Jazz on the same day as Davis and the Lakers face another test on Sunday against the Sacramento Kings.

Topics #Kevin Durant #Lakers #LeBron James #Phoenix Suns

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