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LeBron eclipsed as Suns down Lakers

Suns leapfrog Lakers into second place in the Western Conference with victory.

LeBron scored 38 points but it wasn't enough against the Suns.
LeBron scored 38 points but it wasn't enough against the Suns.
Image: Mark J. Terrill

LEBRON JAMES EXPLODED for 38 points but it was not enough to prevent the Los Angeles Lakers from sliding to a 114-104 defeat against the Phoenix Suns.

A testy clash between the Western Conference rivals saw Phoenix star Devin Booker ejected for two technical fouls during the second half before the Suns rallied to close out the win.

James led the scorers and chipped in six assists and five rebounds, but a Lakers offense still missing the injured Anthony Davis failed to fire consistently.

The Suns’ victory saw them leapfrog the Lakers into second place in the Western Conference with 23 wins and 11 defeats. The NBA champions Lakers are third at 24-12.

Dario Saric led Phoenix’s scoring with 21 points — including 10 in the fourth quarter — while Mikal Bridges added 19.

Booker’s ejection came midway through the third quarter, with the 24-year-old tossed for arguing and appearing to bounce a ball towards an official.

Elsewhere on Tuesday, Nikola Jokic bagged the 50th regular season triple-double of his career as the Denver Nuggets halted the Milwaukee Bucks’ five-game winning streak with a 128-97 drubbing.

Serbian star Jokic dominated a one-sided encounter as Denver never looked back after taking the lead midway through the first quarter before romping to victory. 

Jokic’s ninth triple of the season included 37 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds while Jamal Murray added 24 points for the visitors.

Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks’ scorers with 27 points, but the home side were always struggling to get in the game after conceding a 37-23 lead at the end of the first quarter.

In other games, Kemba Walker scored 25 points as the Boston Celtics rolled to a third straight win with a 117-112 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.

In Miami, a late burst of scoring from Trae Young gave interim Atlanta Hawks coach Nate McMillan a winning debut over the Miami Heat, 24 hours after the dismissal of Lloyd Pierce on Monday.

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Pierce was sacked in the wake of Atlanta’s loss to Miami on Sunday, but his unsettled squad responded with a battling 94-80 win over last season’s NBA Finals runners-up.

Young was pivotal in the win, rattling off 13 consecutive points in the fourth quarter to guide Atlanta to victory.

© – AFP, 2021

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