Slow starts for the Los Angeles Lakers continued to be problematic Sunday afternoon, but yet again it didn’t make much of a difference once they turned it up their intensity and energy.
L.A. trailed by as many as 17 points in the first quarter before roaring back in the second and cruising the rest of the way as they blew out the Phoenix Suns, 120-96. Like in their October matchup, the second quarter ultimately flipped the game on its head.
Kyle Kuzma led the Lakers with 23 points and 8 rebounds while LeBron James added 22 points, 6 rebounds and 8 assists. Turnovers and free throws continued to be an issue early on for the Lakers and contributed to their deficit.
Trailing by 10 after the first, the Lakers responded with a 40-15 second quarter, sparked by Michael Beasley, who finished with 14 points in just 13 minutes off the bench and figures to remain in the rotation.
The half was capped off with a three from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope at the buzzer on a beautiful pass from James after he pushed the ball up the court.
It was more of the same from the rest of the Lakers as Brandon Ingram finished with 15 points, JaVale McGee added 14 points and 8 rebounds, and Lonzo Ball had another strong all-around showing with 7 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals.
A great moment occurred in the fourth quarter as rookie Moe Wagner got the first points of his NBA career with a pair of free throws as the Lakers bench went crazy for him led by McGee and Tyson Chandler.
Wagner would keep it going the rest of the quarter, knocking down a pair of three-pointers and finishing with 10 points.
With their third straight victory the Lakers improved to 14-9, good for sixth in the Western Conference and just two games out of first place.