By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – The Lakers played their first playoff game at Staples Center since April 28, 2013, Thursday evening, against the Phoenix Suns in their Western Conference first-round series. The Lakers beat out the Suns 109-95.

The NBA champions missed the playoffs for a franchise-record six consecutive seasons after 2013 — and last year’s postseason was played in the “bubble” at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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While the Lakers treated their May 19 play-in game “like a playoff game,” Thursday’s matchup “will be pretty special for our fans,” Lakers star LeBron James said. “That’s what I came here for — to be in a playoff game in front of the Laker faithful.”

“We’re all excited for it,” Kuzma said before the game.

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The Lakers’ most recent playoff victory at Staples Center was on May 18, 2012, when they defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder, 99-96, in Game 3 of a Western Conference semifinal series.

The Lakers tied the best-of-seven series at one game apiece with a 109- 102 victory Tuesday in Phoenix, with Anthony Davis scoring 14 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter as they held off Phoenix’s attempt to rally from a 15-point third-quarter deficit.

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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)