Suns withstand late charge to beat Lakers 118-109

Sports
Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram (14) drives on Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton during the first half during an NBA basketball game Saturday, March 2, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

PHOENIX (AP) — Deandre Ayton had 26 points, Devin Booker added 25 and the Phoenix Suns withstood a late charge by LeBron James to beat the Los Angeles Lakers 118-109 Saturday night.

Phoenix lost the first three games against Los Angeles by double digits, but had the Lakers a bit discombobulated through three quarters in the season series finale.

Phoenix led 108-94 with 6:06 left, but James brought the Lakers back.

He scored on a three-point play, hit a three-pointer and kicked out to Brandon Ingram for a corner triple on the break to pull the Lakers within five.

James followed with a dunk off a baseline drive to get the Lakers within 112-109, but the Suns made six free throws in the final 52 seconds to win for the second time in three games following a 17-game losing streak.

James finished with 27 points, 16 assists and nine rebounds. Ingram had 25 points.

Both teams were in the second game of a back-to-back.

The Lakers lost 131-120 to Milwaukee after the Bucks closed the game on a 15-2 run.

The Suns followed their first win in six weeks with a 130-116 loss to New Orleans, allowing the Pelicans to hit 16 three-pointers and shoot 67 percent in the second half.

The Lakers won the first three games with the Suns by double digits and led from start to finish in a 116-102 win the last meeting, despite playing without James, Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma.

The Suns got off to a much better start in the season finale against the Lakers, leading by up to 10 and making 13-of-19 shots in the first quarter.

Phoenix stretched the lead to 14 early in the second quarter, but Los Angeles made a late push to pull within 66-59 by halftime.

The Suns continued to frustrate James and the Lakers in the third quarter, stretching the lead to 95-78 behind Booker’s 12 points.

TIP-INS

Lakers: Ball missed his 16th straight game with a bone bruise and sprained left ankle suffered in a collision with Houston’s James Harden on Jan. 19. … James passed Kobe Bryant (11,719) for fifth on the NBA’s all-time field goals list. He made 10 against the Suns, giving him 11,726. … G Lance Stephenson missed his second straight game with a left foot sprain. … G Rajon Rondo had four assists and passed Deron Williams (6,819) for 20th on the NBA’s all-time assists list.

Suns: Phoenix had a rough night from the three-point arc, going 6-for-26, but made 66 percent of their two-point shots. … The Suns are 1-9 on the second game of a back-to-back. … Phoenix made 34-of-40 free throws.

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