Lakers, Suns look to get on track

PHOENIX -- The last time Los Angeles Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball faced the Phoenix Suns, he fell one assist short of becoming the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double.

Three weeks later, Ball returns to Phoenix with that box on his Big Baller resume checked.

Ball, the second player taken in the 2017 draft, had 19 points, 13 assists and 12 rebounds in a 98-90 loss at Milwaukee on Saturday, breaking LeBron James' record as the youngest in league history with a triple-double. Ball was 20 years and 15 days old, five days younger than James.

The Lakers (5-8) will look to build on that when they play in Phoenix for the second time this season Monday.

The Suns (5-9) broke a five-game losing streak with a 118-110 victory over Minnesota on Saturday, when guard Devin Booker and small forward TJ Warren had 35 points apiece.

Ball, who also had four blocked shots and three steals against the Bucks, was not particularly taken by the record because of the outcome of the game.

"We took a loss, so it really doesn't mean nothing," Ball said.

"They were blitzing (aggressively attacking the high pick-and-roll) a lot, so that makes that roll pretty much open if you pass it quick enough. When they went under (the pick), I just shot it."

Ball made 7 of 12 field-goal attempts, 3 of 5 3-pointers. Rookie forward Kyle Kuzma had 21 points and reserve forward Julius Randle had 17 against Milwaukee, the Lakers' third straight loss.

"I've been shooting my whole life, so I'm not going to stop now," said Ball, whose unorthodox shooting style was questioned by some scouts.

Ball had 29 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists in the Lakers' 132-130 victory in Phoenix on Oct. 20, the second game of the regular season for both.

"The triple-double is going to be the norm for him," Bucks coach and former NBA All-Star point guard Jason Kidd told reporters Saturday. "He's going to fill up stat sheets. We just need to give him time. We are trying to put him in a microwave and speed him up. He's going to make mistakes. But he competes."

The Suns got back on track when Booker and Warren combined for 70 points on 28-of-44 shooting Saturday. Booker had nine points late and Phoenix went on a 14-0 run for a 111-103 lead.

The pair were the first Suns' teammates to score at least 35 points in the same game since Amar'e Stoudemire (41) and Steve Nash (36) in a victory over Denver on March 31, 2008.

"When they're both rolling, it's going to be a good night for us," Suns coach Jay Triano said. "And I thought they both just found ways. 'Book' carried himself with his 35, but he also made sure when he had the basketball he was looking for TJ to make plays as well, and our guards did a good job of that."

Booker also had team highs with nine rebounds and six assists. He was back in form after being limited to nine points in a loss to Orlando on Friday, tying his season low. He has five 30-point games this season. Only Charlie Scott (1974-75) had more in the first 14 games in franchise history.

"We locked in with four minutes to go," Booker said. "After the couple losses that we've had, we've been looking for answers, and our answer tonight was effort. Coach said, 'Win, lose or draw coming in at the end of the game, the only box we need to check is effort. Did we play hard?'

"Tony (Warren) brings it almost every night. I have to keep up with him."

Warren has two games of at least 35 points while making two-thirds of his shots in each, tying Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo and New Orleans' Anthony Davis as the only players with multiple such games this season. All have two.
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