LOS ANGELES (AP) — Lonzo Ball had his second career triple-double and Julius Randle scored 24 points in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 127-109 victory over the short-handed Denver Nuggets on Sunday night.
Ball had 11 points, a career-high 16 rebounds and 11 assists in the 20-year-old rookie’s first triple-double in front of his hometown fans at Staples Center.
Brook Lopez scored 21 points and Jordan Clarkson added 18 for the Lakers, who surged to a 24-point lead in the first half and easily won for just the second time in seven games.
Denver coach Mike Malone and top scorer Nikola Jokic were ejected in the second quarter after Malone stepped onto the court during play to argue a no-call on a play by Jokic around the basket. Malone furiously confronted referee Rodney Mott, who swiftly ejected the coach and his best player when Jokic joined in the argument.
Forward Paul Millsap also left with a sprained left wrist in the second quarter of a miserable night at Staples Center for the Nuggets, who lost for just the second time in six games.
Ball had another big game at another turbulent moment in his family life. With his father, LaVar, engaged in a public argument with Donald Trump over the president’s role in resolving brother LiAngelo’s misdeeds during a UCLA basketball trip to China, Lonzo Ball put together an outstanding floor game to boost the Lakers.
Ball and Magic Johnson are the only Lakers with multiple triple-doubles in their rookie seasons. Johnson had seven, and his new point guard has two in his first 17 games.
Randle added seven points and five assists in a stellar game off the bench.
Nuggets: Jamal Murray got a technical foul for gesturing at Mott after a no-call shortly after the two ejections. … Two nights after Denver scored 146 points in a win over New Orleans, the Nuggets mustered just 48 points in the first half while committing 13 turnovers.
Lakers: The 6-foot-6 Ball’s 16 rebounds were the most in the NBA by any rookie this season. … Los Angeles had a season-high 36 assists. … Randle scored 17 points before halftime. … Josh Hart and Ivica Zubac were recalled from the South Bay Lakers before the game. Hart scored three points, and Zubac played two minutes.
Malone was infuriated when Mott didn’t call a foul on the Lakers for contact while Jokic battled underneath the basket. When the teams headed upcourt, Malone took two steps onto the hardwood and blocked Mott’s path. Jokic had barely joined the argument when Mott tossed him as well, prompting a profane response. Malone’s assistants had to calm him down.
Nuggets: At Sacramento Kings on Monday night.
Lakers: Host the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night.
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