Without LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Lakers lose to Suns in a blowout

Los Angeles Lakers guard Dennis Schroder (17) drives past Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul.

Lakers guard Dennis Schroder (17) drives past Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul, center, while Lakers center Damian Jones (30) makes a pick during the first half Monday in Phoenix. (Rick Scuteri/Associated Press)

The numbers on Monday’s scoreboard were not predetermined, but certainly predictable.

Even with Phoenix star Devin Booker out with a groin injury, the imbalance between the Lakers and their division rival would always be severe.

Chris Paul, Mikal Bridges and Deandre Ayton wore the Suns’ gorgeous purple throwback uniforms. LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook and Austin Reaves lined the sidelines in patterned jackets, hoodies and tracksuits, the Lakers wildly understaffed against one of the best in the West on the second night of a back-to-back set.

Oddsmakers had the Suns as double digit favorites before the Lakers shut out James, Westbrook and Reaves, and the Lakers spent most of the night trying to keep the game within reach.

Phoenix rolled to a 130-104 victory, the Lakers never coming closer than 13 after trailing by double digits in the first quarter.

“I feel like our guys competed the best they could,” said Lakers coach Darvin Ham.

The Lakers flashed moments of competitiveness despite the talent gap, especially in the third quarter as they trimmed the Suns’ lead to the low teens.

But any Suns lulls were far too temporary, Phoenix keeping the Lakers at a comfortable distance most of the night.

Guard Dennis Schroder took the opportunity to play himself into tremendous offensive rhythm, leading the Lakers’ offense out of the pick and roll with smooth efficiency.

He scored 30 points – including 14 in the third – his highest scoring game of the season.

Lakers forward Wenyen Gabriel drives to the basket against Phoenix Suns center Bismack Biyombo.

Lakers forward Wenyen Gabriel drives to the basket against Phoenix Suns center Bismack Biyombo during the first half on Monday. (Rick Scuteri/Associated Press)

Aside from Schroder’s hot third quarter, there was limited drama – except for Patrick Beverley, who was back on the field after Sunday with a calf injury.

Booed during introductions on his first trip back to Phoenix after pushing Ayton, Beverley and Chris Paul predictably got caught up in a short drama.

“They captivate me everywhere,” Beverley said afterwards.

With the Lakers down big in the third, Beverley drove and scored over Paul, a foul. He gestured to the court with his hand, indicating that Paul was “too small” to guard him.

The Lakers trailed 23 on a Beverley free throw.

“Pat is Pat,” Ham said. “He wears his feelings on his sleeve. … I just love watching my boys enjoy the game doing what they do.

Ham said he doesn’t want to see the game played without natural emotion, as Beverley showed.

“As long as it’s nothing disrespectful, I’m fine with it,” said Ham.

Paul led the Suns with 28 points, while Ayton added 21 and 11 rebounds and Bridges added 20.

Kendrick Nunn scored 17 off the Lakers bench and Lonnie Walker IV and Thomas Bryant each had 16 points.

“We kept fighting to the end and that’s the most important thing for me,” said Beverley.

After a win against Washington on Sunday, the Lakers were cautious about James, who is battling ankle and thigh injuries. Nor was Ham worth pushing Reaves back to the ground after spraining his ankle on Sunday night.

“Obviously we saw Austin twist his ankle so we just wanted to give it a day to calm down,” Ham said ahead of Monday’s game. “Source is the same, he pushed a lot more minutes and much needed minutes – but to let his thigh calm down a bit too.”

Westbrook, who was ruled out with a sore foot prior to the game, was undergoing pregame work when he felt discomfort in his left foot.

He, like James and Reaves, will be re-evaluated prior to the team’s game in Sacramento on Wednesday.

Davis’ injury, at least as far as what the Lakers say, is still a bit of a mystery.

Ham said again that Davis was still undergoing evaluations, saying only that he had “pinched” his foot. Davis sat on the Lakers bench without a protective boot on his injured right foot.

“We’re still working through the woods on that one,” Ham said pregame.

Even without any real clarity, Schroder said the Lakers need to be level-headed in their approach.

“Everyone should just do what they can control. Everyone just has to do their job, he said. “And when AD is back, he will do his job. So at the end of the day nothing changes for me personally.”

This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

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