Basketball: LeBron James posts triple double as Lakers hold off Suns 117-107

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James (left) is fouled by Phoenix Suns' Mikal Bridges during the second half on Jan 1, 2020.
Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James (left) is fouled by Phoenix Suns' Mikal Bridges during the second half on Jan 1, 2020.PHOTO: AP

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - 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.

The Lakers, who own the National Basketball Association'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 offence after the Suns got within seven 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 third and fourth quarter but you learn lessons when you win."

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 haemorrhage.

James said Stern leaves a superb legacy behind. "We lost a great visionary," he said 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."

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 all year and are 14 games back of the first place Lakers.