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Lakers without LeBron are eliminated from the NBA playoffs

PHOENIX — Devin Booker scored 32 points and the Phoenix Suns won their franchise-record 63rd game of the season on Tuesday night, beating a Lakers team minus LeBron James 121-110 to keep Los Angeles out of the play-in race and the Eliminate postseason game.

It was a close game in the first half, but Phoenix capitalized on a 29-9 run in the third quarter to create the breakup. The rest of the game was essentially a celebration for the Suns, who danced and dunked their way past the losing Lakers.

Los Angeles, without James for the second year in a row because of a sprained ankle, has lost seven straight games. Russell Westbrook scored 28 points while Anthony Davis added 21 points and 13 rebounds.

Deandre Ayton had 22 points for Phoenix (63-16), avoiding his first losing streak in three games of the season.

Even without James, the Lakers led much of the first half. But the Suns began to take control late in the second quarter, and two direct alley-oops by Chris Paul to Ayton gave Phoenix a 56-50 lead.

LeBron James speaks with Chris Paul during the Lakers' 121-110 loss to the Suns that eliminated Los Angeles from a play-in berth.
LeBron James speaks with Chris Paul during the Lakers’ 121-110 loss to the Suns that eliminated Los Angeles from a play-in berth.
AP

The Suns went into halftime 63-58. Booker scored 16 points and Ayton added 14. Westbrook had 18 points for the Lakers before the break.

Phoenix pulled away in the third quarter and held an 84-65 lead in the first six minutes. Booker scored 16 points in the third and finished 12 of 22 from the field, including 6 for 9 from 3-point range.

After the Suns built their big lead, the Lakers didn’t seem particularly interested in a comeback. Los Angeles ended with 16 turnovers, plagued by the same bad decisions that hurt the Lakers for much of the season.


The Lakers may have five future Hall of Famers on their roster — James, Davis, Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard — and still haven’t figured out a way to make the playoffs.

Davis and James missed important parts of the season through injuries, and Westbrook never seemed to fit well with his new team.

https://nypost.com/2022/04/06/lebron-less-lakers-eliminated-from-nba-playoffs/ Lakers without LeBron are eliminated from the NBA playoffs

JOE HERNANDEZ

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