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Five takeaways from the Lakers’ 119-108 win over the Suns

As if you needed more proof of how much further ahead this year’s Lakers are, last season they won their fourth game on Dec. 15.

This season they did it Nov. 6, in a 119-108 win over the Phoenix Suns. Here are five takeaways from the game.

1. The first-year, second-year and third-year players on the Lakers roster have never been in this position before. Not since December 2013 have the Lakers had a winning record after playing multiple games.

2. Julius Randle collected himself rather quickly after some jawing with Suns center Tyson Chandler. But his handling of the situation sent a few messages. The first was covered in the game story. The second is this: As Randle put it, “I can’t speak for other guys. I can only speak for myself. I’m not afraid of nobody.”

3. Many coaches use the “nobody believes in you” cliche to motivate their players. It would be a fitting one for the Lakers to have used this season, given most people did not expect their improvement to translate to wins just yet. But Lakers Coach Luke Walton said they don’t. “To me it’s about us as a group,” Walton said. “It’s about what we want to do, what we want to achieve and what we believe. Whether people say we’re the best or the worst, I don’t think that should influence our approach. It’s all about the inner belief we have in each other as a team and ourselves.”

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4. D’Angelo Russell didn’t have a great shooting night, but his two best plays for the Lakers might have been defensive plays. With 4:24 remaining in the game, Russell stole the ball from T.J. Warren and passed it to Nick Young. Young hit a three-pointer and was fouled, then made the free throw. Three minutes later, Russell took a charge from Suns guard Devin Booker that prevented the Suns from cutting the Lakers lead into single digits again.

5. Walton thought the Lakers’ defense carried over from Friday night’s win over Golden State, especially early in the game. It was the second consecutive first quarter in which the Lakers held their opponent to just 15 points.

tania.ganguli@latimes.com

Twitter: @taniaganguli


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