PHOENIX (AP) — Short-handed Los Angeles gave LeBron James his first victory as a Laker with a 131-113 romp over the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night.
James flirted with what would have been his 74th career triple-double, finishing with 19 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds before sitting out the fourth quarter.
Lance Stephenson had 23 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, JaVale McGee added 20 points, and Kyle Kuzma 17 for the Lakers. They had seven players in double figures.
The Suns’ Devin Booker had 23 points, seven rebounds and seven assists but left the game in the third quarter with a strained left hamstring. Deandre Ayton, the No. 1 overall pick this year, had 22 points and 11 rebounds.
Los Angeles was without Rajon Rondo and Brandon Ingram for their roles in an altercation with the Houston Rockets on Saturday night. Wednesday night was the first of a three-game suspension for Rondo and a four-game suspension for Ingram.
But the Lakers didn’t miss them in this one, blowing it open with a 44-point second quarter.
Neither team led by more than six points in the first quarter and the Suns were down only 46-41 after Isaiah Canaan’s driving layup with 7:09 left in the half.
But Phoenix committed four turnovers in a 17-2 Los Angeles outburst that put the Lakers up 63-43 on Josh Hart’s running dunk with 3:51 left in the first half.
The Lakers led 76-54 at the break and Phoenix never got closer than 16 in the third quarter.
Lakers: James has five fewer triple-doubles than Wilt Chamberlain. James has three triple doubles in his career against Phoenix. … Los Angeles outscored Phoenix 44-24 in the second quarter. … Stephenson scored 12 points in the first half on six of seven shooting. … Lakers have won four straight in Phoenix after losing 11 in a row there. … Like Ayton, current Lakers broadcaster and former player Mychal Thompson was born in the Bahamas and was the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA (by Portland).
Suns: Booker fell two points shy of becoming the first Suns player to score 25 points or more in the first four games of a season since Charlie Scott in 1972-73. … Phoenix has lost its last three games by 28, 20 and 18 points. … Ayton found himself defending James one-on-one twice in the second half. James missed a 3 the first time and drove for a layup, which rimmed out, on the second.
Lakers: Host Denver on Thursday night.
Suns: At Memphis on Sunday night.
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