LOS ANGELES, USA – LeBron James had a triple double with 31 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists as the Los Angeles Lakers built up a big first half lead then held on to beat the struggling Phoenix Suns, 117-107, on Wednesday, January 1 (Thursday, January 2, Philippine time).
The Lakers, who own the NBA’s second best record behind Milwaukee, had to hold on in the second half after leading at one stage by 36 points.
With their reserves struggling to maintain the big lead James and Anthony Davis had to return to the game and guide the offense after the Suns got within 7 points.
“We have to do a better job of holding big leads,” said Lakers coach Frank Vogel. “We had a dominant performance in the first half. I was proud of how we came out.
“We didn’t play well enough in the 3rd and 4th quarter but you learn lessons when you win.”
James posted his eighth triple double of the season and Davis scored 26 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as the Lakers won their third consecutive contest.
Kyle Kuzma added 19 points and Avery Bradley finished with 18 for Los Angeles.
Devin Booker finished with 32 points and Kelly Oubre had 26 for the hapless Suns, who lost their ninth game in their last 11.
The Suns have won just 13 games and are 14 games back of the first place Lakers.
New year, new hair, same bounce pic.twitter.com/aS64Ux5OAF— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) January 2, 2020
The Lakers and other NBA host teams on Wednesday held a moment of silence to pay tribute to former league commissioner David Stern, who died Wednesday following a brain hemorrhage.
- Magic, Jordan among NBA stars ‘devastated’ by Stern’s death
- Stern’s NBA legacy lives in league’s global superstars
James said Stern leaves a superb legacy behind.
“We lost a great visionary,” said James in the Lakers’ locker room after the game. “His vision was to make this game global. I don’t know how many people believed in that with him or thought it could be done.
“This game is now watched in 200 or 250 countries all over the world. Look at the collective group of players we got, Giannis (Antetokounmpo), Dirk (Nowitzki), Manu (Ginobili) and now Luka (Doncic).
“You have to give him so much credit. My prayers and condolences go to his family.” – Rappler.com