Byron Scott is only three-quarters happy after Lakers rout Suns for biggest win this season
Watching the Lakers build a 38-point lead on their way to a 97-77 thumping of the slumping Phoenix Suns on Sunday night pleased Coach Byron Scott.
But watching his second unit become lax in the fourth quarter at Staples Center, letting the lead slip to 14 points, left Scott displeased.
Scott was most unhappy with Julius Randle, the only player he called out by name for his indifferent play in the fourth quarter. Randle didn’t stick around to face the media after the game either, apparently preferring not to talk about his 0-for-4 shooting night or the complaints he directed toward teammate Marcelo Huertas, who he felt didn’t get him the ball often enough in the fourth quarter.
In the end, though, the Lakers (8-27) extended their season-best winning streak to three games amid a slew of firsts.
They allowed season lows in points in the first quarter (10), second quarter (12), first half (22) and the game.
The 20-point margin was their largest of the season, Lou Williams’ 30 points were his season high and rookie Larry Nance Jr.'s 14 rebounds tied his season high.
And they did all this with Kobe Bryant sitting out for a second straight game because of a sore right shoulder, on which he received treatment right up until the start of the game.
But that fourth quarter, in which the Lakers were outscored 26-16, was what stuck in Scott’s mind afterward.
“I just told them I wasn’t happy,” Scott said. “We didn’t come out in the fourth quarter with the same aggressiveness and intensity that we had for the first three quarters and that’s why I yanked those guys back out and put the starters back in.”
Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson drives by Suns guard Devin Booker.(Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)
Lakers frontcourt players Roy Hibbert and Julius Randle try to block the shot of Suns forward P.J. Tucker.(Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)
Suns forward Mirza Teletovic tries to block the shot of Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson.(Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)
Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson dunks over Suns center Alex Len during the second half.(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)
Suns guard Ronnie Price gets bowled over by Lakers Larry Nance Jr. and D'Angelo Russell.(Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)
Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson attempts a revers layup against Suns big men Mirza Teletovic and Alex Len.(Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)
Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. goes up for a dunk during a game against the Suns.(Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)
Lakers guards Lou Williams and Jordan Clarkson surround Phoenix Suns guard Brandon Knight during a Jan. 3 game at Staples Center.(Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)
Lakers forward Julius Randle shoots as Suns center Alex Len defends during the first half.(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)
The second unit of Randle, D'Angelo Russell, Brandon Bass, Nick Young and Huertas was chastised by Scott. In particular, the coach jumped on Randle for pouting.
“First of all, you’ve got to guard your man,” Scott said he told Randle, who scored only two points but did have 12 rebounds. “And it was not just him. But I did mention his name in there. I said, ‘If you disrespect the game, the game will disrespect you back.’ And again, our guys in that fourth quarter came out real lackadaisical, like the game was over, and Phoenix just kept playing.
“You’ve got to understand, too, Julius is a 21-year-old kid. I don’t mind him getting mad when he gets taken out.”
Still, the Lakers had plenty of highlights, none bigger than 6-foot-5 Jordan Clarkson dunking over 7-1 Phoenix center Alex Len.
But the fans got the biggest thrill when David Moya of Oakdale, Calif., hit a half-court shot after the third quarter to win $95,000.
That sent the crowd into a frenzy and prompted several of the Lakers to walk over and congratulate Moya.
“I had my head in the huddle, but I heard about it from the crowd,” said Nance, who also had 15 points. “And I saw my teammates run over. That was something we kind of look forward to.”
Not only do the Suns have a nine-game losing streak, but they set a franchise record for fewest points in a half with the 22 they scored in the first 24 minutes.
“Our guys have been playing well the last few games,” Scott said. “So obviously we’re gaining some confidence, feeling pretty good about the way we’re playing. And we knew that team was not playing well, had some stuff going on.”
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