Ingram, Randle lead Lakers over Suns, 112-93
LOS ANGELES (AP) — By the time coach Luke Walton entered the locker room at halftime, his Lakers players were already talking about how to defend better over the next 24 minutes.
The talk worked. The Lakers held the Suns to only 36 points in the second half en route to a 112-93 victory on Tuesday night.
“You could tell with the way they were talking to each other on the court and the effort they were giving that they were locked in to getting stops for that second half,” Walton said.
Brandon Ingram scored 26 points for the Lakers, while Julius Randle added 21 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Kyle Kuzma scored 16 points off the bench.
TJ Warren scored a team-high 24 points, while Josh Jackson added 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Suns.
The Lakers pulled away in the last eight minutes of the fourth quarter with a 15-3 run after leading 97-90.
Kuzma said the team’s switching scheme contributed to a strong final stretch on the defensive end.
“Just switching everything,” Kuzma said. “Switching pin-downs, pick-and-rolls. And rebounding, too.”
The Suns shot 47 percent in the first half. The Lakers held Phoenix to just 29 percent for the remainder of the game.
“They got out and they beat us up and down the court,” Suns coach Jay Triano said. “That’s them doing a good job of rebounding and getting it out.”
Los Angeles allowed 12 offensive rebounds in the first half, but only four in the second half. Walton said he showed the team a clip at halftime where Warren outworked four Lakers players for an offensive rebound that resulted in a basket.
The Lakers overcame a sluggish start to the second quarter and a 16-6 run by the Suns. Los Angeles made only two of its first 10 shots, and Phoenix took a 50-43 lead on a jump shot by Warren to cap a 22-8 run over nearly seven minutes.
Los Angeles answered with a 10-2 run that included Brook Lopez making a 3-pointer after blocking Jackson’s dunk attempt and Ingram making a 3 to give Los Angeles a 53-52 lead with 2:29 left in the half. The game was tied at 57 at halftime.
Ingram’s ferocious slam gave Los Angeles an 84-77 lead with 1:59 remaining in the third. His two free throws gave the Lakers a nine-point lead entering the fourth quarter, and Kuzma’s slam dunk sent the crowd into a frenzy and the Lakers into a 95-85 lead with 9:08 remaining in the game.
The Lakers held the Suns to just 14 points in the final period, and closed the final 5:27 on an 8-0 run.
Suns: Lost their third straight game, and their 12th of their last 13. . Made only 56.5 percent of their free throws. . Marquese Chriss added 10 points and six rebounds.
Lakers: Lonzo Ball missed his 11th straight game with a sore left knee. . Outscored Phoenix 25-11 in fast-break points. . Won their seventh straight home game. . Improved to 7-4 without Ball in the lineup.
Suns guard Devin Booker missed Tuesday’s game with an injury to his left hip.
He was hurt in Sunday’s 115-110 loss to the Charlotte Hornets and left the game. He did not practice Monday.
Triano said before the game that things change “drastically” without Booker.
“He’s a guy that we’ve played at so many different positions,” Triano said. “He’s handled the ball for us in a variety of situations. Scorer, playmaker and he’s been a much better defender this year. We’re going to miss all that.”
Josh Hart tallied his third consecutive double-double in as many starts. He has scored 44 and brought down 36 rebounds in that stretch.
Randle said the team has started jokingly calling him Charles Barkley because he’s rebounding at such a high rate at his size.
“He’s great, especially from that guard position, coming in and helping the bigs get boards,” Randle said. “He’s huge for us.”
Suns: Host the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday.
Lakers: Host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday.