Los Angeles Lakers Report Card: Game 4 vs. Phoenix Suns

Harry How  Getty Images

Harry How Getty Images

"It's great to have this excitement back in the building", Bryant said following the win. "We picked up where we left off and got this win".

Walton had been fined $15,000 by the National Basketball Association earlier Wednesday for criticizing officiating, but he seemed more put off by the Lakers' defense, which surrendered over 117 points per 100 possessions through the first three games.

While they allowed the Suns to shoot above 52 percent on Wednesday, the Lakers got stops when needed and benefited from Stephenson's best game since March.

The sophomore point guard finished with 12 points, eight assists, six rebounds and an eye-popping five steals.

But it was Stephenson who hit a pair of big-time 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, sparking a Lakers comeback that led to a 121-114 win over previously unbeaten Denver. Though the Suns' immediate worry is Booker's health status after leaving the game in the third quarter with a strained left hamstring, Phoenix's broader concern is how the season's narrative has quickly flipped from promising to disastrous. Wednesday night was the first of a three-game suspension for Rondo and a four-game suspension for Ingram.

"He's a very gifted basketball player, a very cerebral basketball player".

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"People say, 'Oh he only can play 20 minutes because he has asthma.' No. there's a lot of people with asthma in the league". Kokoskov has already changed that in a big way through the first few games of his tenure on the bench, as the new-look Phoenix attack has been far more democratically than the 2017-18 version.

"LeBron is doing what he always does", Denver coach Michael Malone said. "Anybody has a problem breathing in Denver". "There's a reason I take it, so I don't have asthma when I take my asthma medicine".

On Stephenson, James said: "When Lance steps on the floor, he's a spark for us".

Los Angeles was without Rajon Rondo and Brandon Ingram for their roles in an altercation with the Houston Rockets on Saturday night.

"For me to be able to compete against him for all those years and then share the same jersey as him at this point is pretty special. and for him to take the time out to come and watch us play tonight was pretty cool". "Great playoff teams, too". I just got a little anxious.

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