The Los Angeles Lakers got back on track Sunday night with a much-needed 127-109 victory over the Denver Nuggets. Rookie Lonzo Ball shook off his struggles for at least one night, recording his second career triple-double with 11 points, 16 rebounds, and 11 assists.
In doing so, Ball joined Magic Johnson as the only Lakers rookies to record multiple triple-doubles. He also tied LeBron James as the youngest players to record multiple triple-doubles as both were 20 years and 23 days old on the night of their second.
It was the second quarter that was the difference maker on this night as L.A. outscored Denver by 16 in the frame thanks to a 20-2 run. Frustrations began to boil over as Nuggets coach Mike Malone and star center Nikola Jokic were both ejected on the same play following a non-call on Jokic.
The Nuggets were also without forward Paul Millsap for the second half thanks to a sprained wrist.
With Denver lacking in the frontcourt, the Lakers bigs took advantage. Julius Randle had one of his best games with 24 points, seven rebounds, and five assists, drawing praise from head coach Luke Walton. Meanwhile Brook Lopez scored 21 points and hit three of his five three-pointers.
Walton praised Ball for setting the tone for his team, as the Lakers assisted on 36 of their 53 baskets. The difference was noticeable as the Lakers shot 53 percent from the field and even hit 37.5 percent from three-point range.
Gary Harris led the Nuggets with 20 points and Wilson Chandler added 17, but Denver was frustrated all night by a Lakers defense that looked returned to its form from earlier this season. Corey Brewer and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led the charge on that end, coming up with four steals each.
Next up for the Lakers is a game against the Chicago Bulls, one of the worst teams in the NBA so far. This is the last of the Lakers’ four-game homestand.
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