A complete failure. That’s how we can sum up the 2021/22 Lakers season, which doesn’t go beyond this week.
Without LeBron James, still injured, the “Purple & Gold” couldn’t afford a deferment of payment in this nightmarish exercise. Pressured by the Spurs’ success with the Nuggets, acquired earlier in the evening, teammates Russell Westbrook (28 points) and Anthony Davis (21 points, 13 rebounds) didn’t weigh very heavily in Phoenix (121–110).
Worn by Devin Booker (32 points) and Deandre Ayton (22 points, 13 rebounds), the Suns seize the opportunity to take a record 63rd win and end the (disappointing) Los Angeles trail once again. . And all while unrolling their basketball as usual.
WHAT TO REMEMBER
† End of the route to Los Angeles† It’s officially more than the Lakers’ hopes of “play-in,” and thus playoffs. As in 2018/19 and 2020/21, the Lakers had a dark season in 2021/22 and the best thing that could happen to them was probably to go on vacation from April. Because with the Spurs victory over the Nuggets, defeat was out of the question for the Purple & Gold if they wanted to keep dreaming of the Top 10 in the West. Problem, they bowed in wide widths and confirmed the failure of their trio James/Davis/Westbrook for good.
† Phoenix franchise record† It was only a matter of days before the Suns broke their record for winning one season. And it’s finally against the Lakers, between their historic rivals and with whom a small rivalry seems to have been born, that the Monty Williams men achieved their 63rd success of the season. As a result, they improved their record of 62 wins, set twice, in 1992/93 and then in 2004/05. Next step for the Arizona franchise: the Larry O’Brien trophy, in June.
† A crucial third quarter† It is not the first time this season that the Lakers have fallen back from the locker room. It’s also not the first time this season that the Suns have built their win at this point in the game. New illustration this night, with “Purple & Gold” defensively overwhelmed for all the zeal of the duo Devin Booker – Deandre Ayton, unstoppable from afar and up close. More agile, regular and solid collectively, the players of Phoenix recited their series (35-22), only to be caught up afterwards. Bye bye Los Angeles.
The Booker-Ayton duo† Executioners of the Lakers during the 2021 playoffs, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton returned on the cover in 2022. Not on a run of six games, but on a simple regular season duel, always synonymous with elimination for the Angelenos† Taking advantage of the California franchise’s “open-bar” defenses, they enjoyed themselves all evening, quickly gaining confidence in themselves, then aligning the award-winning successes and in the paint. Without ever forcing their talent.
The Westbrook-Davis duo† It’s hard to blame much of Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis for this. So without LeBron James, they tried to live up to the Lakers’ meager hopes today by attacking as aggressively as possible, despite the Suns’ strong defense. Except, against a team so armed and in place, their only good games weren’t enough to leave with anything but a ten point defeat. Now it wouldn’t be surprising to see all three All-Stars rest for the last three Los Angeles outings this season.
Los Angeles Season† Could it end differently? spoiler : No. As the Lakers showed no consistency for an entire game since the start of this fiscal year 2021/22, running good streaks for a good ten minutes, before exploding as soon as their opponent pressed the accelerator. The screenplay of this encounter seemed almost pre-written, so Frank Vogel’s men got used to these cracks over time. And the hardest part now begins for California’s leaders, who are about to experience a pivotal summer after this horrific campaign…
Phoenix (63-16) : “back-to-back” at the Clippers, this Wednesday night (4:00 AM).
Los Angeles (31-48) : trip to Golden State, overnight stay from Thursday to Friday (04:00).