The pieces finally came together in a meaningful way as the Los Angeles Lakers scorched the Phoenix Suns in a 132-130 victory. Brandon Ingram scored a career-high 25 points, while the potential of Lonzo Ball spilled out on the court. Ball's fingerprints were all over the game, clocking a game-high 29 points, 11 rebounds and 9 assists, flirting with a triple-double.
It was quite a bounce-back performance from the Lakers, who used an incredibly energetic third quarter to take command of the game. Corey Brewer's defense on Devin Booker, throwing him off his rhythm after a big first half, was one of the keys to the game. Larry Nance Jr. also stepped up to the defensive plate as well during that third quarter run, making perhaps the best case for why he should be the starting power forward yet.
Tensions flared in what was a competitive game between two teams tired of being in the bottom of the Western Conference. They played at a furious pace, making for what was an entertaining game of basketball out in the desert even if defense was optional. The Lakers nearly blew it down the stretch in the fourth quarter, letting the lead get cut down to one possession, but would ultimately eek out the win on the road.
Kyle Kuzma made a big impact off the bench, scoring 15 points while making good reads within the offense. His lob to Nance Jr. was one of many exclamation points the Lakers dropped in Phoenix. Jordan Clarkson continues looking like a polished scoring combo guard, adding in 17 points of his own.
Eric Bledsoe led the Suns with 28 points, with Booker ending the night with 25. Brook Lopez continues looking like the steady scoring presence the team can use to soak half court sets, coming up with a few big plays in the fourth quarter to help maintain the lead. Julius Randle continues to struggling to find his footing off the bench, playing 12-and-a-half minutes most memorable for a spree of fouls that brought some of the Lakers’ roaring momentum back down.
It was great to see so many of the things we’d hope to see from the Lakers come into focus together, and watching Lonzo and the Lakers zip burning up the court in Phoenix was a sight to behold Friday night.
That sweet, sweet taste of victory. Let’s get some more of that Sunday against the New Orleans Pelicans.