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Lakers rout Suns for third straight win

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The Lakers woke up after a slow start before putting a beatdown on the Suns to coast to their third straight win.

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Lakers Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

There are three guarantees in this life: death, taxes and bad first quarters from the Los Angeles Lakers. The Phoenix Suns outscored the Lakers 31-21 in the first, and led by as much as 17 points.

According to NBA.com, the Lakers allow 28.1 points per game in the first quarter, which is among the bottom-10 in the league. Fortunately, they were once again able to shake off their early-game jitters to beat Phoenix on Sunday.

Following their low-scoring first quarter, the Lakers outscored the Suns 99-65 through the final three frames and earned themselves a comfortable 120-96 win over Phoenix. The Lakers have now won three straight games, including seven of their last 10.

Once again, Kyle Kuzma was a bright spot for L.A., scoring a team-high 23 points on 8-14 shooting from the field, including three 3-pointers. Kuzma hasn’t been able to get his outside jumper to fall with any consistency this season, so it was nice to see him drain a few.

However, the most impressive thing about Kuzma’s game on Sunday was his defense. For the most part, Kuzma has been huge liability on defense this season, but he’s shown signs of life over the past few games.

If he can play serviceable defense while he’s on the floor, he becomes a much more impactful player and an indisputable starter.

Overall, the Lakers got a nice effort from their starters and, of course, LeBron James got his numbers up, scoring 22 points on 9-17 shooting from the floor to go along with 6 rebounds and 8 assists.

But we’ve talked about James plenty on this site. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate future NBA Hall of Famer Moe Wagner on his career night for the Lakers.

Wagner made the most of his minutes, scoring 10 points in just 10 minutes. It was in garbage time, but it was the single most exciting thing about the game.

The Lakers will close off their home stand with a Wednesday game against the San Antonio Spurs, who they’ve struggled against this season. We’ll see you then.

You can follow this author on Twitter at @RadRivas.