On Sunday, Jan. 27, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Phoenix Suns were scheduled to play a basketball game at Staples Center. Thousands of fans paid money to see professional athletes compete at a high level. While they might not have seen that, they definitely saw the Lakers win something.
Without LeBron James, Lonzo Ball or Kyle Kuzma, the Lakers scrapped their way to a 111-99 win over the Suns. There was a lot of ugly in the game, but for our purposes, we’re going to focus on the good, starting with Ivica Zubac.
Zubac continued his productive month for Los Angeles, scoring a game-high 24 points on 56.3 percent shooting from the field, 16 rebounds and four blocks. Zubac has scored in double figures in each of his last five games.
It’s unclear if head coach Luke Walton intends to move Zubac to the bench once LeBron James is healthy, but if he did, Zubac has made that decision a lot harder on Walton.
Zubac’s 2016 NBA Draft classmate Brandon Ingram also shined for the Lakers, scoring 22 points on a blistering 81.8 percent shooting from the field. He did so while attempting — and making — just one 3-pointer.
However, the win wouldn’t have been possible with a scoring outburst from Lance Stephenson in the fourth quarter. Midway through the final frame, when the Lakers were having a hard time getting their offense going, Stephenson went on a solo 11-0 run because of course he did.
Lance vs the Suns with 37 guys out for both teams is basically Disneyland for him— Laker Film Room (@LakerFilmRoom) January 28, 2019
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was also huge for L.A., putting up 24 points on an efficient 4-9 shooting from behind the 3-point line. Caldwell-Pope was responsible for four of the Lakers’ 10 3-point makes.
It was an ugly win, to put it kindly, but it’s all the same in the win column. With a win on Sunday, the Lakers are now two games back of the eighth seed in the Western Conference. They’ll have the day off before they host the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday.