LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Lakers snapped their two-game skid by bouncing back in a big way cruising to a win over the Denver Nuggets 127-109 on Sunday night.
Los Angeles had an all-around team performance with seven players finishing in double figures, including all five starters while shooting 53.0 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from 3-point range while racking up season highs with 36 assists and 70 points in the paint.
Julius Randle led the way with a season-high 24 points off the bench while rookie Lonzo Ball registered his second career triple-double with 11 points, 11 assists, and a career and game-high 16 rebounds in the convincing win.
“It what we’ve been saying the whole time, even when he’s not scoring the ball he has rebounds, assists, and steals.” head coach Luke Walton said. “Sixteen is a lot, I ‘m not totally shocked by it. The media will probably love him tomorrow, hate him agains the next day. He’s going to keep getting better and that’s probably going to be the process of how this whole thing plays out.”
It was a huge bounce-back performance for Ball, who has notably struggled over the last couple of weeks as he joined Magic Johnson as only rookies in team history with multiple triple-doubles in their rookie season. He also joined an exclusive company of Johnson Oscar Robertson, Hambone Williams, Connie Hawkins, and Ben Simmons to have multiple triple-doubles within their first 20 career games.
“I’m just focused going 1-0 in every night and we got it today,” Ball said. “Our defense was better and we played with a better pace. When those two things come together it’s a good night.”
The Lakers got off to a strong first half with four players in double-digit scoring with Randle leading the way with 17 pts, including 10 points poured in the second quarter that helped stretch their lead to as many as 24 in the period behind an 18-4 run.
Los Angeles through the first two quarters shot 50 percent from the field while dishing out a season-high 20 assists on 29 made field goals to push them to tie the season-high 70 points, which was reached on Oct. 20 against the Phoenix Suns.
The Nuggets made a push in the second half, but the Lakers kept them at bay with their lead never dwindling down lower than 15 points over the last two periods due to their balanced offensive effort throughout the night.
“We were very unselfish on the offensive end,” Randle said. “We got a lot of easy looks for everybody. Our defense was on point as well.”
On a side note, things got heated midway through the quarter as Nuggets head coach Mike Malone and Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic were both ejected from the game after arguing with the referee about the physical play down low in the paint.
Bob Garcia IV
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