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Sit Out Against Lakers Key Matchup Alert: Bradley Beal and Devin Booker

The Los Angeles Lakers are hoping for a comeback after their season’s opening loss against the struggling Phoenix Suns. Two of the Suns’ biggest stars, Bradley Beal and Devin Booker, were sidelined for the Lakers’ home opener.

Beal, acquired in an off-season trade with the Washington Wizards, missed the game against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday due to lower-body tightness, leading to a 108-104 loss for Phoenix. Booker shone in the victory against the Warriors, leading the team with 32 points and 8 assists, but he was absent against the Lakers with a left ankle injury.

The Suns’ lineup remains strong, with Deandre Ayton consistently a dominant force, trailing only behind Hakim Olajuwon in scoring with 37 points. The absence of Beal and Booker still poses a challenge for the Lakers.

Austin Reaves on Facing the Sun’s Star and Comparing to Kevin Durant

Austin Reaves, a Lakers guard, commented on the challenge of facing the Suns’ star, saying, “I think when KD [Kevin Durant] comes to mind, it’s much harder. You can play great defense, you can make a great contest, you can contest, and you can contest it, but he’s 7 feet with 7-foot arms. So, when he releases it [shooting], what is it, like 8-foot-3? But when he releases it, there’s no shot-blocking it.”

It’s been difficult for me because I’ve seen it when he was in Golden State; they picked him up at the top of the key, and he’s pulling it out 10-2 or something like that. So he’s releasing it deeply. For me, it’s impossible, especially when I’m trying to play good defense. But you just try to make it as hard as possible for him. He’s a global elite player for a reason.”

The Lakers opened their season with a loss to the Denver Nuggets, 119-107. Besides the struggle, two major stories emerged in the second half, with Anthony Davis scoring without a field goal and the Lakers looking ineffective while LeBron James was on the bench. However, the Lakers faced additional challenges, including Devin Booker’s injury, further complicating their performance on the court.

Davis explained that in the second half, the Nuggets turned him into a double-team target, and he ended up in the hands of open shooters, but after going 0-for-6 after the break, he said, “I had to make those shots sometimes.

Lakers’ Adjustment Dilemma: Overcoming Defensive Challenges

Lakers’ Adjustment Dilemma

“Sometimes, it’s tough because you want to keep your distance and give it up, so when teams double, whether it’s Bron or AD, then they have the opportunity to pass it, Reaves said when asked how the Lakers can adjust. “I think we got a little tangled up in the last half so that the teams couldn’t load it up.”

In addition to generating movement on the ball, L.A.’s role players will need to account for the plan to limit James’ minutes to 28–30 per game this season.

The Lakers scored 29 points in 29 minutes against the Nuggets, whom James played in the opener, which means they scored 19 points in 19 minutes when James was on the bench.

“When he’s out, I have to be that guy that’s kind of doing it on both ends,” said Rui Hachimura, who was trained with James this off-season. “He’s running in court cases. He has the physical presence to do that. So I have to do more of it, especially when he’s out of court. That’s what the team wanted, and why did Bron talk about it? I ‘understand’ that.”

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