With previous losses to the New York Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers this season at Staples Center, Brandon Ingram set the tone early against the Phoenix Suns and helped end the Los Angeles Lakers’ three-game losing streak.
Instead of trying to create his usual own opportunities at the top of the key, Ingram operated more in the low post and got to the basket at will. His 11 points on an efficient 5-of-5 in the paint helped the Lakers establish an early 10-2 lead.
They allowed the Suns to get back into it but never trailed against the third-worst team in the NBA. As Ingram finished with 22 points on 9-of-11 shooting, his 2016 NBA Draft classmate Ivica Zubac continued his strong play in a second consecutive start.
The Suns were playing without Deandre Ayton because of an ankle injury, which allowed Zubac to control the paint on both ends and finish with 24 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks.
While both teams were undermanned, the Suns cut a double-digit deficit for most of the game to just six points early in the fourth quarter.
With the Lakers struggling in fourth quarters without Rondo and LeBron James, Lance Stephenson stepped up with 11 of his 17 points to seal the 116-102 win. Beyond the points, Stephenson sent the crowd into a frenzy with his air guitar celebration.
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