For the second straight game rookie forward Kyle Kuzma had a career-high scoring night and Brook Lopez added a double-double, but the Los Angeles Lakers’ defense failed them as they fell to the Phoenix Suns 122-113.
Kuzma scored 30 points and added 10 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Suns and rising star Devin Booker. The third-year guard finished with 33 points while center Alex Len added 17 points and 18 rebounds off the bench for the Suns who picked up their first win in three games against the Lakers this season.
Phoenix set the tone from the beginning and led for the majority of the game. Just one night after allowing 90 first-half points to the Houston Rockets, the Suns kept the much-less potent Lakers offense to 53 points and led by 12 at the half.
Rookie point guard Lonzo Ball finished with six points, six rebounds, six assists, and five steals on 3-7 shooting. Afterwards he spoke about the Lakers’ lack of effort, believing the team was complacent defensively. Head coach Luke Walton believed this game served as a teaching moment to his young team, who he believes thought this would be an easy night against a team they had beaten twice already.
The tensions between the two sides continued to rise as there was an altercation for the third straight time. This time it was Suns point guard Tyler Ulis who got into it with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Somehow this moment also wound up focusing on Ball as the rookie point guard walked away from the minor skirmish.
Ball simply said that he knew there was no real issue and he didn’t want to pick up a technical foul as the Lakers were trying to mount a comeback.
Next up for the Lakers is a home matchup against the very dangerous Denver Nuggets on Sunday night.
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