The Lakers fell apart in the fourth quarter on Monday night in Phoenix, losing to the Suns, 120-101.
Veteran all-star Kobe Bryant sat out after playing big minutes in the Lakers’ win over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday. Without him, the team stayed competitive for three periods, but turnovers proved fatal as the Suns put together a 40-point final quarter.
Brandon Knight notched a triple-double with 30 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds, along with four steals to lead Phoenix to the win.
The Lakers held the Suns to just 32% shooting in the first period, yet trailed, 26-22, after giving up eight offensive rebounds. Metta World Peace scored 10 of his 12 points in the first period.
Lou Williams and Nick Young carried the Lakers in the second period, scoring 10 and eight points, respectively, but the Lakers’ deficit remained four, 57-53, at halftime.
Phoenix pushed ahead by as many as nine, but the Lakers were still within striking distance heading into the fourth period, down 80-75. That’s when the bottom fell out.
The Lakers started turning the ball over and Phoenix’s offense kicked into high gear -- while the Lakers’ defense crumbled. The Suns hit 69.6% of their shot attempts from the field in the period (16-23), including nine of their first 10.
When the dust settled, the Lakers suffered a 19-point loss with 17 turnovers, despite a solid offensive night, shooting 48.1% from the field, 90% from the line (18-20) and 45% from three-point range (9-20).
Jordan Clarkson led the Lakers with 20 points. Williams scored 16; Roy Hibbert, 14; D’Angelo Russell, 13 and Young, 11.
The Suns also got 21 points from Eric Bledsoe, along with 19 from T.J. Warren as the Suns had seven players score in double figures.
Phoenix shot 48.4% from the floor, 76% from the line (19-25) and 36.7% from behind the arc (11-30), with 11 turnovers.
Second-year forward Julius Randle struggled with just six points on six shot attempts, along with five fouls and four turnovers. Eight of Russell’s 13 points were in the final minutes, with the game already decided.
Phoenix played without forward Markieff Morris (knee) and Ronnie Price (concussion).
The Lakers (2-9) are off until Friday, when they’re set to host the Toronto Raptors (7-4) at Staples Center. The Suns (6-4) stay at home to play the Miami Heat (6-3) on Wednesday.