Nick Young said the Lakers were looking to be “player haters” to finish out the year by throwing wrenches into the playoff plans of their opponents. The first wrench was thrown Sunday night when the Lakers started hot and rode their way to a 115-99 win over the Phoenix Suns.
The Lakers used a 20-5 run in the first quarter to set the tone for the night. Spurred on by Chris Kaman (not a typo), the Lakers first quarter lead of 26-15. Kaman scored 10 of his season high 28 points in the first frame and also grabbed 8 rebounds, nearly netting himself a triple-double off the bat. However, as quickly as the lead was built, the Suns came roaring back, using a 16-5 run to start the second quarter to tie the game at 31. The Morris twins – Marcus and Markieff – combined for 10 of the points during the run.
The game of runs, however, was not over as the Lakers closed the first half on a 21-4 run to push their halftime lead to 18 points. Jodie Meeks had 11 points in the 2nd quarter and Ryan Kelly scored 8 of his 17 points in the frame as well. The purple and gold kept the Suns at bay in the 3rd, keeping a 15-point lead heading into the final quarter of the night. Phoenix, however, never got the deficit into single digits, trimming only down to 11 with 3:24 remaining before the Lakers scored 9 of the final 13 points of the night.
Meeks joined Kaman in the 20-point club with 22 of his own, including 9 of 10 from the free throw line. Kendall Marshall chipped in 13 points while handing out 11 assists, while Kent Bazemore and Young had 13 and 11 points, respectively. However, the night belonged to the seldom-used, rarely-talked-to big man Kaman, who grabbed 17 rebounds and dished out 6 assists to go along with his big scoring output.
After the game, the Lakers embraced their role as spoilers by taking to social media with their message.
Nick Young on hurting PHX playoff chances: "Welcome to the Player Haters Ball…we tryin to hate, hate, hate hate…"
— J.A. Adande (@jadande) March 31, 2014
— Kendall Marshall (@KButter5) March 31, 2014
The Lakers will have another shot at being the hated when they host the Trailblazers on Tuesday night. Portland is currently in the 5th spot, but are within 2.5 games of moving up or falling down in the standings and will be looking for a win for extra cushion.