Wild night for Lakers: 5 takeaways from loss to the Suns

Lakers' Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is stripped of the ball by Phoenix Suns' Chris Paul as he bumps into Dario Saric.
Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is stripped of the ball by Suns guard Chris Paul as he bumps into Dario Saric on Tuesday night at Staples Center.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Here are five takeaways from the Lakers’ defeat to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night at Staples Center.

1. Just to keep some fresh bodies on the court, Lakers coach Frank Vogel went to a lineup that he probably doesn’t even use in practice.

The only starter was point guard Dennis Schroder, who played alongside Talen Horton-Tucker, Wesley Matthews, Alex Caruso and Jared Dudley.

That lineup was used in parts of the first and second halves.

Now that’s called coaching on the fly.

“One guy goes out and you have to make a decision as to how to fill that spot,” Vogel said. “Whether it’s the next man up or whether you’re going to slide guys around a little bit.”


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May 18, 2020

2. The Lakers’ three-point defense was horrible against the Suns.

The Suns attacked the Lakers often and got some clean open looks to the tune of 55.2% shooting from three-point range.

Jae Crowder led the way for the Suns by going four for five from three-point range.

3. With 8 minutes 15 seconds left in the third quarter, LeBron James was called for a technical foul. Before the Suns could shoot the technical foul free throw, Vogel was given a technical.

Vogel explained why.

“He got fouled and then he got a quick T,” Vogel said. “So, I wasn’t happy with either.”

4. Markieff Morris was upset with his defensive performance against the Suns, blaming himself for some of the Lakers breakdowns.

Highlights from the Los Angeles Lakers’ 114-104 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, at Staples Center.

“I had an undisciplined defensive game,” Morris said. “That’s not in my character. I was a little tired. I just made a bunch of mental mistakes. I think it kind of led to breaking our defense down.”

Morris had 12 points on five-for-six shooting and six rebounds. But he was a minus-16 in the plus-minus department.


5. Dudley’s sole job was to be active, to move the basketball and to play solid defense.

He did all that for the Lakers while playing backup center, and his teammates appreciated his effort.

They especially were happy for Dudley when he stripped the ball away from Suns backup center Dario Saric in the second quarter. Dudley was given a blocked shot, a play in which he never left the ground.

In 11 minutes of action, Dudley didn’t score, missing his only two shots. But he was a plus-9 in the plus-minus category.