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Suns offense goes cold, Lakers take 109-95 win, series lead

After scoring 28 points in the first quarter, the Suns offense struggled mightily from the field in the second and third quarters.
Credit: AP
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) argues with a referee after fouling Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) during the first half in Game 3 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series Thursday, May 27, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Lakers dominated the Phoenix Suns throughout much of the second half on Thursday night to win 109-95 to take 2-1 series lead.

The Suns came out strong, battling at the end of a physical first quarter, taking a 28-27 lead into the second. But after scoring just 12 points in the second quarter, the Suns offense officially went cold and it didn't heat back up until late in the fourth quarter when it was too late.

Anthony Davis led all scorers for the second straight game, finishing with 34 points and 11 rebounds.

DeAndre Ayton led the team with 22 points. Devin Booker had 19 points on 6-for-19 shooting.

Chris Paul was a 100%-go for the game, he wasn’t a game-time decision. In the first quarter, Paul was 2-for-2 from the floor, hitting two mid-range jumpers, so it appeared he was good to go. He would receive treatment on his shoulder when sitting.

The Lakers went into the half with just a three point lead over the Suns.

The offense remained cold for the Suns to start the second half. Phoenix was 1-for-12 at one point early in the third dating back to the end of the second. The Lakers took a 13-point lead halfway through the third as they continued to dominate the Suns in the paint.

The Suns trailed by as many as 17 in the third. The Lakers ended the quarter with a 13-point lead.

To start the fourth, the Suns quickly got the game back to single digits but Anthony Davis and LeBron James continued to work inside, extending that lead again, this time to 18 points after a 10-0 run.

The Lakers had the lead up to 21 points in the fourth, but a late fourth quarter surge from the Suns, started by Cam Payne, brought it back within single digits. 

But, it was too little too late. The Lakers would take the 109-95 win.

Notably, Booker was ejected with 35 seconds to go with a Flagrant 2 on a shooting foul on Dennis Schröder. Booker fouled out with the shooting foul anyway. After Booker got ejected, Crowder also got ejected.

A huge difference between Game 3 and the first two games of the series was the points in the paint. In Game 1, the Suns had 52 points in the paint to the Lakers' 44. In Game 2, L.A. had 42 and Phoenix had 40. But in Game 3, Los Angeles had 58 points in the paint to Phoenix's 36.

Game 4 will take place in Los Angeles on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. as the Suns hope to tie the series up before heading to Phoenix for Game 5.