NBA playoffs

Suns tie series vs Lakers as Davis exits Game 4 with injury

Suns tie series vs Lakers as Davis exits Game 4 with injury

INJURED. Anthony Davis suffers a strained left groin in the first half of Game 4 of the Lakers-Suns playoffs clash.

Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

The Suns capitalize on Anthony Davis' absence to level their Western Conference first-round series against the Lakers at 2-2

Chris Paul collected 18 points and 9 assists to lift the visiting Phoenix Suns to a 100-92 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 4 of their Western Conference first-round series on Sunday, May 30 (Monday, May 31, Manila time).

Devin Booker and Jae Crowder each scored 17 points, while DeAndre Ayton recorded 14 points and 17 rebounds for the Suns, who evened their best-of-seven series with Los Angeles at 2-2.

The teams reconvene in Phoenix on Tuesday for Game 5.

LeBron James had 25 points and 12 rebounds for the Lakers, who saw Anthony Davis exit the contest with a strained left groin following a drive to the basket with 48.3 seconds left in the second quarter. Davis made just two of nine shots for 6 points before departing.

James threw down a thunderous dunk to give the Lakers a 48-44 lead with three minutes remaining in the second quarter before the Suns answered with a spirited 10-2 surge to close the half. Mikal Bridges drained a pair of three-pointers during the latter run, with one coming after Davis was unable to get back in the play following his injury.

Phoenix exploited Davis’ absence to begin the third quarter, outscoring Los Angeles by a 27-15 margin to take an 81-65 lead. Ayton scored three baskets on the interior early in the third while Paul recorded 8 points in the quarter.

Marc Gasol drained his third three-pointer and James sank a free throw to trim the Suns’ lead to 95-88 with 2:40 left in the fourth quarter. Crowder stopped the momentum by drilling a corner three-pointer with 1:23 to play.

Phoenix answered a 12-2 run by Los Angeles to begin the second quarter with an 18-4 spurt of its own to secure a 43-40 advantage. Crowder, who sank a pair of three-pointers to highlight the Suns’ surge, had made just 2 of 20 attempts from beyond the arc in the first three games of the series.

Los Angeles’ Kentavious Caldwell-Pope did not play due to a left quad contusion he sustained in the third quarter of a 109-95 win over Phoenix on Thursday. –