Los Angeles Lakers Report Card: Game 4 vs. Phoenix Suns

Lakers coach Luke Walton got fined for criticizing the refs. More

Lakers coach Luke Walton got fined for criticizing the refs. More

Yet although James' contribution of 28 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds was central to his side's success, the four-time NBA MVP was eager to highlight the efforts of his team-mates. Lance Stephenson also scored 12 points for the Lakers. "We picked up where we left off and got this win". Luckily, however, the Suns' other star - Deandre Ayton - played great and finished with a 22-point, 11-rebound double-double.

PHOENIX - After an angry Luke Walton held nothing back on his team's poor defense at the morning team meeting, the Los Angeles Lakers responded to their coach and rode a dominant second quarter to their first victory of the season. He's an all-time Lakers great, what he's done for this franchise in his 20 plus years that he was here. "I feel like somebody stamped that excuse on me like, 'Cool, we can play him low minutes because he has asthma'".

They were also missing Brandon Ingram who was slapped with a four-game ban for starting the melee, then, after being separated, charging back into the kerfuffle and throwing a wild sucker punch from behind at an unsuspecting Houston player.

"We got stops. They are one of the best offensive teams we have in this league and when you do that you are able to get out and run", said James, who posted his 74th career triple-double.

James signed with the Lakers three months ago after leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to four straight National Basketball Association final appearances, including their first championship in 2016.

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Nikola Jokic scored 24 points for the Nuggets, who were off to their best start since the 2009-10 season. The Nuggets entered giving up less than 100 points a game.

"He's a very gifted basketball player", James said of Ball.

"But if we are going to play a certain way, let's not reward people for flopping 30 feet from the hole on plays that have nothing to do with that possession". The compact guard finished last season with the Lakers, averaging 15.6 points in 17 games after getting traded by James' Cavaliers. "We felt like their big man couldn't match our intensity, so when I got in there, I was like, 'Man, I'm going to attack the big man'".

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