Chris Paul collected 18 points and nine assists to lift the visiting Phoenix Suns to a 100-92 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday afternoon in Game 4 of their Western Conference first-round series.
Devin Booker and Jae Crowder each scored 17 points and DeAndre Ayton recorded 14 points and 17 rebounds for the Suns, who evened their best-of-seven series with Los Angeles at two wins apiece. The teams reconvene in Phoenix on Tuesday for Game 5.
LeBron James had 25 points and 12 rebounds for the Lakers, who saw Anthony Davis exit the contest with a strained left groin following a drive to the basket with 48.3 seconds left in the second quarter. Davis made just 2 of 9 shots for six points before departing.
James threw down a thunderous dunk to give the Lakers a 48-44 lead with three minutes remaining in the second quarter before the Suns answered with a spirited 10-2 surge to close the half. Mikal Bridges drained a pair of 3-pointers during the latter run, with one coming after Davis was unable to get back in the play following his injury.
Phoenix exploited Davis’ absence to begin the third quarter, outscoring Los Angeles by a 27-15 margin to take an 81-65 lead. Ayton scored three baskets on the interior early in the third while Paul recorded eight points in the quarter.
Marc Gasol drained his third 3-pointer and James sank a free throw to trim Phoenix’s lead to 95-88 with 2:40 left in the fourth quarter. Crowder stopped the momentum by drilling a corner 3-pointer with 1:23 to play.
Phoenix answered a 12-2 run by Los Angeles to begin the second quarter with an 18-4 spurt of its own to secure a 43-40 advantage. Crowder, who sank a pair of 3-pointers to highlight the Suns’ surge, had made just 2 of 20 attempts from beyond the arc in the first three games of the series.
Los Angeles’ Kentavious Caldwell-Pope did not play due to a left quad contusion he sustained in the third quarter of a 109-95 win over Phoenix on Thursday.
–Field Level Media