The Los Angeles Lakers started off the New Year of 2020 with a win, but it didn't come easy.
After leading by as many as 36 points in the first half, the Lakers eventually scraped past the Phoenix Suns with a 10-point win to make it three victories in a row.
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Here are the biggest takeaways from a game that once again had the superstar duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis delivering for the hosts:
The Lakers' red-hot first quarter
The hosts tipped off 2020 in red-hot shooting form. They made their first 11 shots of the game and finished the first quarter with a season-high 43 points (19-27 FG's) while allowing the Suns to score just 17 points.
Their first-quarter dominance included a couple of highlights reel dunks by Anthony Davis:
ANTHONY DAVIS. TOTAL ECLIPSE. pic.twitter.com/ojQtWfCKoE- Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) January 2, 2020
The Brow. The King. Back-to-Back.- Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) January 2, 2020
That hoop didn't stand a chance. pic.twitter.com/hHCFYKng04
James, Davis, and Avery Bradley combined for 32 of the team's 43 points on a near perfect shooting from the field (14-17 FG's).
The Lakers assisted on 12 of their 19 made field goals in the first quarter and outhustled their opponents throughout. In the first 12 minutes, they also recorded five steals and three blocks.
Suns' rally in the second half but fall short
The Lakers' dominance continued in the second quarter and by the end of the first half, they led 74-41 but it was a different Suns squad that showed up in the second half on both ends of the floor.
They outscored the Lakers 38-27 in the third quarter and then opened up the fourth quarter on a 16-4 run over the first eight minutes of the final period.
Kelly Oubre Jr. attacks the rim for the @Suns strong stuff. pic.twitter.com/LpE3wlMF4o- NBA (@NBA) January 2, 2020
Their comeback eventually fell short as James took over the last four mintues of the game to ensure a Laker win.
Devin Booker (32 points, 7 assists) and Kelly Oubre Jr. ( 26 points on 9-14 FG's) combined for 58 points in the loss but couldn't help the Suns win their third straight, something the team has failed to do so since the first week of November.
LeBron doing all it takes
Since the Lakers' four-game losing streak capped off with a Christmas Day loss to their crosstown rivals in the LA Clippers, James has ensured in different ways that the Lakers finish victorious.
In the next two games against the Portland Trail Blazers and the Dallas Mavericks, he improved his record to 12-0 when he posts more assists than field goal attempts.
Took 10 shots and dished out 13 assists tonight.- StatMuse (@statmuse) December 30, 2019
In this one too, through three quarters he nearly had more assists (12) than field goal attempts (14).
With the Suns' run, the Lakers needed offense in the fourth and he answered the call. He scored eight of the team's 16 fourth-quarter points and eight of their last 12 in the game.
James finished with 31 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists - his eighth triple-double of the season. Andthony Davis added 26 points and 11 rebounds on the night.
LeBron James has his 8th triple-double of the season, matching his total from last season.- ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 2, 2020
He ties Jerry West for the 4th-most triple-doubles in Lakers history (16). h/t @EliasSports
James has the 2nd-most triple-doubles in the NBA this season; Luka Doncic has 9. pic.twitter.com/inx8JqkKgi
Having won three straight, the Lakers have a chance to make this a 6-game win streak with very winnable games coming up in their five-game homestand - vs New Orleans Pelicans (11-23 = 2nd worst record in the West), vs Detroit Pistons (12-22, lost 8 of last 10), and vs New York Knicks (10-24 = 2nd worst record in the East).
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