NBA regular season

Lakers edge Suns again, advance to in-season last four


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Lakers edge Suns again, advance to in-season last four

STILL ROLLING. Lakers guard Austin Reaves (center) celebrates with superstars LeBron James (left) and forward Anthony Davis after scoring a three-point basket against the Suns during the second half of the in-season tournament quarterfinals.

Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

LeBron James and the Lakers arrange a semis showdown against the Pelicans after ousting Kevin Durant and the Suns in the NBA in-season tournament

LeBron James scored 31 points and dished out 11 assists, Anthony Davis added 27 points and 15 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Lakers advanced to the semifinals of the NBA in-season tournament with a 106-103 victory over the visiting Phoenix Suns on Tuesday, December 5 (Wednesday, December 6, Manila time).

Austin Reaves scored 20 points for the Lakers, who will face the New Orleans Pelicans in one semifinal game Thursday at Las Vegas. 

The Milwaukee Bucks will face the Indiana Pacers in the other semifinal, also on Thursday at Las Vegas, with the final set for Saturday there.

Los Angeles improved to 5-0 during in-season tournament games.

Kevin Durant scored 31 points for the Suns, who lost for the third time in their past four games after a seven-game winning streak. Phoenix lost two of its five games in the in-season tournament, both against Los Angeles.

Devin Booker and Grayson Allen each scored 21 points for the Suns, with Booker grabbing 11 rebounds. Phoenix head coach Frank Vogel, who was the Lakers’ coach when they won the 2020 NBA title, is 0-3 this season against his former team.

The Suns took a 95-94 lead on a three-pointer from Durant with 5:45 remaining, but then they went more than four minutes without a field goal as the Lakers took a 102-97 lead with 2:20 remaining after six consecutive L.A. points from James.

Durant ended the field-goal drought with a short jumper to bring Phoenix within 102-99 with 1:02 remaining, and Booker brought the Suns within a point at 102-101 on a layup with 30 seconds left.

After missing his first five shots of the fourth quarter, Reaves buried a three-pointer with 15 seconds left for a 105-101 lead. 

Durant made a quick layup to get the Suns within 105-103, and Davis sank 1-of-2 free throws with 6.6 seconds remaining. Durant missed a 3-point attempt at the buzzer.

The Lakers stormed out to a 33-23 lead after one quarter, assisted by 10 Suns turnovers. Los Angeles led 59-47 at halftime after Davis scored 20 points and pulled down six rebounds.

After the Suns opened the second half on a 14-0 run, the Lakers were up 83-82 through three quarters. –

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