PHOENIX SUNS

Phoenix Suns eliminated from NBA In-Season Tournament by Lakers

Dec 5, 2023, 10:54 PM | Updated: 11:00 pm

LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers takes a shot against the Phoenix Suns in the first half ...

LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers takes a shot against the Phoenix Suns in the first half during the 2023 NBA In-Season Tournament quarterfinals at Crypto.com Arena on December 05, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The Phoenix Suns were eliminated from the NBA In-Season Tournament on Tuesday, falling to the Los Angeles Lakers 106-103.

LeBron James was the star of the show with 31 points, eight rebounds, 11 assists and five steals while Anthony Davis added 27 points and 15 rebounds. Phoenix’s star duo of Devin Booker (21 points) and Kevin Durant (31) both struggled with turnovers, combining for 12. Booker added 11 rebounds and six assists and Grayson Allen also scored 21 points.

Phoenix had a poor start to the game, going down 15 points in the early second quarter before bouncing back to briefly take the lead in the mid-third quarter. The game came down to the wire from there and two questionable calls by the officials in the last minute will certainly be a topic of conversation, a foul on Booker that could have easily been a take foul and a timeout granted to the Lakers when Austin Reaves did not have possession of the ball. The take foul, however, is not up for discussion since one cannot be called with under two minutes remaining.

The Suns didn’t do themselves any favors, getting outshot by 27 field goal attempts thanks to issues with offensive rebounding and turnovers.

The loss means Phoenix still has to add one more game to the schedule and it gets that via the other quarterfinal loser in the Western Conference, the Sacramento Kings. That contest will take place on Friday in Phoenix at 7 p.m.

Phoenix originally qualified for the knockout stage of the in-season tournament by taking the sole wild card spot available in the West. A 3-1 record and point differential of +34, far ahead of the Minnesota Timberwolves, the only other West team to finish 3-1 and not win its group.

Following the in-season tournament play for the Suns, they will get over a full week at home with a five-game homestand, the longest of the season so far. After the Kings game, it’s another matchup with the Golden State Warriors next Tuesday before the return of Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson against the Brooklyn Nets the next day. Dec. 15 is a primetime showdown versus the New York Knicks while another east coast team in the Washington Wizards wraps up the week on Dec. 17.

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