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Ball flirts with triple-double, Lakers hold on to beat Suns

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Ball flirts with triple-double, Lakers hold on to beat Suns

/ 01:25 PM October 21, 2017

Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball gestures to teammates during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — Lonzo Ball barely missed a triple-double with 29 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists in his second NBA game and the Los Angeles Lakers held on to beat the Phoenix Suns 132-130 on Friday night.

The Suns had a chance to tie it with 1.2 seconds to play, but T.J. Warren missed the first of two free throws. That meant he had to miss the second intentionally and hope for a rebound, but the Suns couldn’t get a decent shot off before the buzzer.

Ball, the No. 2 overall pick this year who is a week shy of his 20th birthday, took over down the stretch, scoring eight points in a 2 1/2-minute span. His final basket during that run, a floating layup, put Los Angeles ahead 130-122 with 1:35 to play.

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But the Suns came roaring back behind Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker, whose 3-pointer with 6.4 seconds left cut it to 131-130. Brandon Ingram made one of two free throws to give Phoenix one last chance and Warren was fouled by Ingram on an inbounds play.

The free throw was off the back of the rim, though, and the Lakers survived.

Bledsoe scored 29 points, 17 in the fourth quarter. Booker also flirted with what would have been his first career triple-double, finishing with 25 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists. Warren added 24 points, 17 in the second quarter. Ingram scored 25 points for Los Angeles.

Both teams were coming off of season-opening blowout losses.

The Lakers lost to the Los Angeles Clippers 108-92, and Phoenix was routed by Portland 124-79, the most one-sided loss in Suns history and most one-sided season opener ever in the NBA.

From the opening tip Friday, it was a fast-paced, often sloppy, game with not much attention to defense.

Phoenix used a 13-2 run to go up 55-49 with 7:09 left in the half and the Suns stretched it to 67-58 on another 3 by Booker with 3:34 left in the half. But the Lakers scored the next seven, five at the free throw line.

Warren responded with consecutive baskets, but Ingram had the last laugh, a 3-pointer with eight seconds to play to cut Phoenix’s lead to 73-70 at the half.

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Booker was called for a flagrant one when he fouled Brewer hard on a layup with 6:02 left in the third quarter. Larry Nance Jr. jumped into the fray and put a shoulder into Booker, who responded with a shove. Booker and Nance both were assessed technical fouls.

The play came during an 13-2 Lakers outburst that put Los Angeles on top 95-85 after Nance stole the ball from Booker with both players on the floor and flipped the ball to Lopez for a layup with 3:03 to play in the third quarter.

The Lakers boosted the lead to 111-99 on Clarkson’s basket with 10:28 to go.

TIP INS

Lakers: Luol Deng, who started Thursday’s opener, was inactive. … Ball had three points, nine assists and four steals in his debut Thursday night. … The Lakers locked arms as they stood for the national anthem.

Suns: In the second quarter, Warren was 6 for 7 from the field and 5 for 6 from the foul line. … Booker was flattened under the Phoenix basket by Brook Lopez in the second quarter. He was slow to get up but stayed in the game. ..The Suns play their next five on the road. Their next home game is Nov. 6 against Brooklyn.

UP NEXT

Lakers: Host New Orleans on Sunday night.

Suns: At the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night.

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TAGS: LA Lakers, Lonzo Ball, NBA, Phoenix Suns
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