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Lakers take high-energy Game 2 in Phoenix 109-102 to tie series

Chris Paul played limited minutes as he battled shoulder soreness from his injury, but backup point guard Cameron Payne stepped up for Phoenix despite the loss.

PHOENIX — The Los Angeles Lakers pulled away at the very end of a tight, chaotic fourth quarter at Phoenix Suns Arena to come away with a 109-102 win to tie the series 1-1.

The series will head to Los Angeles for Game 3 and Game 4. 

Chris Paul was battling soreness in his right shoulder after he left and then returned to Game 1 with a shoulder injury on Sunday.

He exited the game early in the third quarter after playing 20 minutes and it was speculated he may not return, however, he did come back into the game in the fourth but would sit in the closing minutes.

It was Cameron Payne, who was ejected from Game 1, who stepped up big for Phoenix as Paul's role was more limited.

Payne finished with 19 points and seven assists. Devin Booker led the Suns with 31 points and DeAndre Ayton had another solid game with 22 points and 10 rebounds.

Lakers star Anthony Davis led the Lakers with 34 points, adding nine rebounds and seven assists. 

Dennis Schröder had 24 points and LeBron James had 23.

It was an electric start to the game. Coming off a Game 1 that saw four technical fouls including an ejection, Davis was given a flagrant foul in the first minute of the game for kicking Jae Crowder in the groin on a jump shot. 

It was a bit of a sloppy start for the Suns. Seven first-quarter turnovers had them down 11 points at one point, but Phoenix got it back to within six 30-24 at the end of the first.

The Suns defense kept Phoenix right in it to start the second quarter. The Lakers scored just two points in the first four minutes of the quarter.

However, thanks in part to a strong quarter from Schröder and Lakers big men taking advantage of a mismatch with Cam Johnson, the Lakers would take a six-point lead into the half.

Schröder led all scorers at the half with 16 points. DeAndre Ayton had 14 at the half and Devin Booker 12.

RELATED: New to the Phoenix Suns bandwagon? Here are 5 things to know.

The Lakers started the second half on a 10-1 run. Devin Booker responded with a 7-0 run himself, leading to the Lakers doubling him on defense.

By mid-way through the third quarter, both teams were showing major struggles from the 3-point-line. The Suns were just 2/11 while the Lakers were 5/21.

At the end of the quarter, some threes started to drop including a Cam Johnson buzzer-beater. The Lakers led 79-72 after the third. 

The Suns out-scrapped the Lakers to start the fourth quarter. A 4-point play for Jae Crowder made it a 1-point game with eight minutes to go. A deep three from Cam Payne a minute later and the Suns tied the game at 86.

Things were tight down the stretch, but back-to-back buckets from LeBron James and Anthony Davis gave the Lakers a six-point lead with two minutes to go. 

A wide-open three from James with under a minute to go gave the Lakers a nine-point lead and sealed the win for L.A.

The series is now tied 1-1 and will head to Los Angeles for Game 3 and Game 4. Game 3 is set for Thursday at 7:30 p.m., and Game 4 will be played at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday.

The concern now for Phoenix is going to be Chris Paul's health. Game 3 is in less than 48 hours. Not having Paul down the stretch hurt the Suns on Tuesday night and if he can't get healthy, the Suns are going to be reeling to keep up with L.A.

RELATED: Suns control much of Game 1, defeat Lakers 99-90


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