The Los Angeles Lakers overcame yet another slow start and used a big second quarter to take control in what finished a 120-96 victory that extended their winning streak to three games and remain undefeated on the current homestand.
The Lakers opened with four turnovers and as many field goal attempts, falling into a 10-2 deficit. Trevor Ariza, who remains a crowd favorite at Staples Center, scored eight early points behind making his first three attempts.
Phoenix pulled ahead 25-8 midway through the quarter, with the 17-point lead marking their largest of the game. Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and LeBron James shouldered the scoring load early to get L.A. within striking distance.
That paid off as Ingram and Michael Beasley combined to key a 10-0 run to start the the second quarter and tie the game. The Lakers took a lead at 40-38, which was their first since Lonzo Ball’s steal and pass to Kuzma for a layup started the scoring.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope capped off what was a 40-15 edge in the second quarter by draining a 3-pointer at the buzzer. The Suns made some headway in the third, twice cutting the Lakers’ lead to 10 points, but they were staved off and went into the fourth down by 21.
The Suns’ efforts were hurt by losing Devin Booker to a hamstring injury late in the second quarter. He was immediately taken to the locker room and though deemed questionable to return, didn’t appear after suffering the injury.
Beasley single-handedly produced a 7-0 run to start the fourth quarter, which effectively put the game away for the Lakers. It allowed James, Ingram, Kuzma and JaVale McGee to finish a stretch of three games in four days on the bench.
The large lead also afforded rookie Moritz Wagner with playing time. His first career points came at the free throw line, which sent the Lakers bench and Staples Center crowd into a frenzy.
With the win the Lakers improved to 3-0 against the Pacific Division this season and won a seventh consecutive home game against a Western Conference opponent.