What we learned from the Lakers’ 112-93 win over Phoenix
Here’s what we learned from the Lakers’ 112-93 win over the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday at Staples Center.
The Lakers have figured some things out
Tuesday’s win was the team’s 10th in its last 15 games, putting memories of LaVar Ball’s criticisms about Luke Walton almost completely out of sight.
This win came after Walton challenged his team to respond to a needed day off Monday with no letdown against the Suns, who were without their top player, Devin Booker. Instead of being flat or sluggish, the Lakers ran with the Suns early before locking in and blowing them out late.
It was what a good professional basketball team would do against a lesser opponent.
Julius Randle is locked in
It wasn’t that long ago that Walton called out Randle after a loss to the Thunder for not playing with enough physicality and toughness. But on Tuesday, for the 10th-straight game, Randle was an effective force for the Lakers.
His coaches and teammates praised Randle for being one of the tone setters in Tuesday’s performance, and finally, it seems like he’s become a player the Lakers can count on on a nightly basis.
Ten games a season doesn’t make, but people around the team have no problems saying this is the best they’ve ever seen Randle play.
Lakers forward Julius Randle looks to pass during the first quarter of a game against the Suns on Tuesday at Staples Center.(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson dives for a loose ba;; during the first quarter of a game Tuesday at Staples Center.(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson drives pastSuns defenders Tyson Chandler, left, and Dragan Bender during the first quarter on Tuesday at Staples Center.(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
Lakers forward Julius Randle puts up a shot against Suns forward Marquese Chriss during the second quarter of a game Tuesday at Staples Center.(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
Lakers guard Brandon Ingram puts up a shot against Suns guard Josh Gray during the second quarter of a game Tuesday at Staples Center.(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
Lakers forward Julius Randle tries to work the ball under the basket against Suns forward Marquese Chriss during the second quarter of a game Tuesday at Staples Center.(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. fights for a loose ball against Suns Josh Gray, left, and Josh Jackson in the first quarter.(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
Lakers Larry Nance Jr., left, Corey Brewer and Alex Caruso fight for a rebound against Suns center Dragan Bender in the first quarter.(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
Brandon Ingram has made a point
With Lonzo Ball still out with a sore left knee — and no one committing to a timetable for his return — the Lakers have turned to Brandon Ingram to run the offense.
He scored 26 points Tuesday on 12 attempts, getting to the foul line and hitting from deep for a wildly efficient night.
Walton said he wants defenses to feel pressured every time Ingram has the ball — and right now, they should be feeling it.
Josh Hart fits in
Hart had his third-straight double-double, continuing to impress the Lakers with his ability to contribute on the glass and in the scoring column.
While his rebounding is the most noticeable contribution over the past three games, Hart’s also shooting the ball well from three-point range. And when he can stretch the defense, it opens things up for Randle, Ingram and the rest of the team.
Lopez counts by three
If you need proof that the NBA is evolving, Tuesday marked the first time that Brook Lopez attempted only three-point shots in a game. All six of his attempts were from deep.
Lopez said it was probably the first time in his life that has happened.
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