Photo: Phoenix Suns/YouTube screenshot

The Phoenix Suns faced an agonizing exit from the NBA In-Season Tournament, with the Los Angeles Lakers securing the last semifinal spot in a hard-fought 106-103 victory on Tuesday night.

Despite a stellar 31-point performance from Kevin Durant, the Suns couldn’t withstand the Lakers’ determined fourth-quarter surge. Devin Booker and Grayson Allen contributed 21 points each, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Lakers’ late-game push.

When asked to predict the tournament’s winner, Durant, acknowledging the Lakers’ strengths, selected the purple and gold.

“I’m going to go with the Lakers because they beat us. They got the size to compete with anybody. They’ve got the quickest flight out of anybody. The most fans out of anybody. It’s set up for them to win,” Durant said, per Ben Golliver.

The Lakers will square off against the New Orleans Pelicans in one semifinal, while the Milwaukee Bucks will clash with the Indiana Pacers in the other, setting the stage for an exciting showdown in Las Vegas.