Walton praises Lakers' poise

Coach cites 'maturity' of young team after victory against Suns

LOS ANGELES • The Los Angeles Lakers must have found a hangover cure that did not involve tomato juice, vitamins or the proverbial hair of the dog.

Instead, they survived a second-half scare and held on to beat the Phoenix Suns 119-108 at Staples Centre on Sunday. The win raised the Lakers' National Basketball Association season record to 4-3 (including 3-0 at home).

It is the first time they have had a winning record after seven games since they also started 4-3 in 2011-12 and their current three-game winning streak matches their longest since the 2012-13 season.

The Suns fell to 2-5.

"I've been on the other side, losing three in a row - and it sucks," Lakers forward Julius Randle said.

  • 47-9

  • The Los Angeles Lakers bench's outscoring the Phoenix Suns' reserves was a factor in their 119-108 victory.

Before the game, Lakers coach Luke Walton said he expected his young team to be feeling an "emotional hangover" after a big win over the Golden State Warriors on Friday and to come out flat against the Suns.

The first-year coach was wrong.

"(It shows) that they're more mature than I think a lot of people would give them credit for," Walton said. "I didn't have any expectations.

"I came into the job with an open mind. They haven't shown me anything to prove they are immature other than the age of some of them.

"They come to work every day and their actions speak loudly that they're in this to get better."

Suns guard Devin Booker followed up his career-high 38 points in Phoenix's win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday by topping that with 39 against the Lakers, 18 of them in the fourth quarter.

The 20-year-old Booker became the youngest player in NBA history to score 38 or more points in back-to-back games. "It's about wins and losses," he said. "Maybe later in my career I can look back on things like that. But now I'm in the mindset where I am ready to get wins. Everybody looks good when you win and that's what we're trying to do.

"Scoring as many points as you want and not making the play-offs is not a good look."

But the Lakers' bench outscored the Suns' reserves 47-9, with Jordan Clarkson (18 points) and Lou Williams (14) leading the way.

"We understand our bench will have to get more production and play with more purpose and get more stops, get deflections and steals and get out in transition," Suns coach Earl Watson said.

"We need our bench every night. We're not a good enough team yet, with enough experience, to say we don't need our bench."

If anyone was suffering from an "emotional hangover," it might have been the Suns feeling the after-effects of a pair of exciting wins - back-to-back overtime wins on Wednesday and Friday over the Portland Trailblazers and New Orleans Pelicans.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 08, 2016, with the headline 'Walton praises Lakers' poise'. Print Edition | Subscribe