Anthony Davis news aside, The Lakers were looking to get back in the win column after three straight losses, and with the Phoenix Suns in town, there was no better chance to get a win than now. The Suns were losers of seven straight heading into Sunday night, and the Lakers were looking to take advantage of that. Kyle Kuzma did not dress tonight due to a hip injury, so Luke Walton selected Michael Beasley to join the starting line-up of Brandon Ingram, KCP, Ivica Zubac, and Rajon Rondo.
The Lakers’ KCP was the first to score, thanks to a Michael Beasley offensive rebound and a nice pass. The Suns would score their first bucket on a tip-in, but the Lakers would score 10 straight points to open up a 12-2 lead with 7:49 to go. Ingram was aggressive to start the game, scoring 6 points. The Suns finally scored, but Zubac answered with a nice-in to keep the Lakers lead at 10. The Suns would go on a 12-2 to in about 90 seconds to tie the game at 16. The two teams would battle back and forth for the remainder of the quarter, and the Lakers led by four after one, 31-27. Brandon Ingram scored 11 first-quarter points, leading the way for LA.
The Suns scored the first points of the second on a nice alley-oop to Josh Jackson, but the Lakers answered with a JaVale McGee floater. Lance Stephenson would score five quick points to open up a seven-point lead. The Suns scored on a Jamal Crawford step-back, but Beasley scored the next six points, giving the Lakers a 44-33 lead with 7:37 left. The Suns stopped the run with a Troy Daniels three, but BI and Zubac each scored, giving the Lakers a 12-point lead. Former first-round pick Dragan Bender scored a putback and-one and made the free throw, but Brandon Ingram scored four points and found Zubac for a layup, keeping the lead at 12. The Lakers led as much as 15 points before the Suns scored just before the half to trail 53-65. BI led all players at the half with 17 points, while Zubac had 12.
The 3rd quarter started with a D-Book miss, and a Zubac hook shot, opening up a 14-point lead. Booker would miss another shot, and Zubac would score again. The Suns hit a three and hit a tip-in to cut the Lakers lead to 12, but Beasley answered with a floater. Booker finally hit a shot and got fouled (made the FT) to cut the lead down to 11, then scored again to cut the lead to single-digits. Rondo scored for the Lakers, and after two Suns free throws, found BI for a three, giving the Lakers a 12-point lead again. KCP hit two threes in two minutes, and the Lakers kept the pressure on, but Booker found his stroke, scoring 11 points in the 3rd, and the Suns took advantage of some Laker turnovers to trail by nine after three.
The Suns opened up the final frame with a slam dunk by Holmes, and one (Made the FT), causing Luke Walton to call time out. The Laker lead that was once 15 was trimmed down to six, 90-84. After a couple of misses for both teams, Lance Stephenson hit a corner three in front of the Suns bench, prompting a mini-guitar dance. After a Booker miss, Lance drove the paint and made a very nice up-and-under layup, pushing the Lakers lead back to double-digits, 95-84 with 9:57 left. Booker answered for the Suns by making a tough lay-up over Zubac and stared him down after the play, getting a technical foul (KCP made the FT). After the Suns scored on a layup, Lance hit another corner three, this time from the other corner, and stroked his air guitar down the court. After a Zubac block, the Lakers ran down and Rondo found Lance for long-two from the corner, giving the Lakers a 101-88 lead and prompting a Suns timeout .. and Lance’s halfcourt air-guitar-dance show.
The game was not over, however, as there was still 8:42 left. Out of the timeout, the Suns missed, and KCP hit a three from the top of the key, extending the lead to 16. Oubre scored for the Suns, but KCP was WIDE OPEN and hit another three, pushing the Lakers lead to 17. The Suns scored five straight before Zubac made a layup and got fouled (made the FT), giving Rondo his 10th assist with 4:37 left. The Lakers held on for a double-digit win at home, beating the Suns 116-102. Three Lakers score 22 or more, and Zubac gets a double-double.
The Lakers break their three-game losing streak and improve to 26-24, and remain 9th in the West. The Lakers are now 18-17 in conference games and 16-10 at home.
Ivica Zubac (LAL) – 24 pts, 9-16 FG, 16 reb, 4 blk
Devin Booker (Pho) – 21 pts, 9-18 FG, 6 ast, 3 tov
Next Game: Tuesday, Jan 29, 7:30 PM vs 79ers (32-18)
TV: TNT Exclusive, Radio: 710ESPN
- Brandon Ingram scored 20 points in back-to-back games for the first time this season. In 16 games since Lebron’s injury, Ingram is averaging 18-6-4, on 48% shooting. However, the Lakers have gone 6-10 in that span.
- The Lakers are now seven games better then they were last year at the 50-game mark (19-31).
- The Lakers shot 12-18 (67%) from the charity stripe last night.
- Kyle Kuzma did not play due to a hip injury. He is listed as day-to-day.
- LeBron James is practicing with the team but has not been cleared to play.
- Full Box Score available on NBA.com
- Photos are courtesy of Lakers.com & Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images
Los Angeles Lakers (26-24)
* = Starter
For full standings, please visit NBA.com.