Tyson Chandler got a little sweet revenge against his former team.
Chandler grabbed 11 rebounds and the Los Angeles Lakers eclipsed the Phoenix Suns, 120-96, on Sunday afternoon at Staples Center.
For the second straight game, the Lakers went down double-digits early, but rallied in dramatic fashion for their second consecutive blowout victory at home.
The Suns started the game on a 25-8 run, as the Lakers sleepwalked through the first quarter after playing a span of four games in six days.
"We came out really sluggish with 8-10 turnovers in the first quarter," said Lakers guard Kyle Kuzma who scored a game-high 23 points. "The second unit really brought the energy and got us back in the game and when the starters got back in we got back to it."
After they woke up, the Lakers went on 53-21 run during a 40-point second quarter that gave the Lakers a 61-46 lead at the break.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope drained a corner three at the buzzer to give the Lakers the 15-point halftime advantage.
The Lakers picked up where they left off in the second half, following their 40-point second quarter with a 34-point encore performance in the third.
LeBron James finished with 22 points, six rebounds and eight assists as he shut the door on the Suns with an emphatic two-handed slam that put the Lakers back up by 15-points.
"I think we are just getting better every game," James said after the victory. "Every game is a learning experience for us. It’s just fun to win. We learn from our mistakes when we lose and we learn from our mistakes when we win. We know what is winning basketball for us, which is defending and sharing the ball.”
The team only cruised from there, extending the lead to 33 points in the fourth quarter as former Sun, Michael Beasley scored 14 points off the bench.
"It was an early game. We came out flat," said Beasley after the win. "Coach got on us in the first quarter and we responded well. We played as a team, and played defense, and that translated on the offensive end."
Josh Jackson, Trevor Ariza, and Richaun Holmes each had 13 points for the Suns. Veteran Jamal Crawford had 13 points off the bench.
"Trevor Ariza did a heck of a job," said Suns head coach Igor Kokoskov We basically mirrored LeBron’s minutes with Trevor and he did his best to kind of limit his productivity.”
Chandler, who played the last three and a half seasons with the Suns, dominated the glass against his former team, grabbing a game-high 11 boards, as the Lakers outrebounded the Suns, 54-38.
"I still got love for a lot of those guys over there," said Chandler of his former team. "Those are young guys that I was mentoring. That doesn't just click off. But when you're on the court there's that competitive edge, and they're no longer your teammates. But afterwards, I got love for those guys, I want to see them grow. I'm just happy we won."
Los Angeles outscored the Suns in the paint, 62-48, in their third consecutive victory at home.
"I think it was a combination of things," Suns forward Josh Jackson said of the differential in the paint. "Our shot selection was iffy down the stretch which opened up transition points for them. We were turning over the ball a little bit so they got out and they were running a little bit. I think they were a little bit tougher than us today. I think we brought it from the gate and we were the aggressor, but it didn’t last throughout the game."
Rookie Moritz Wagner scored the first points of his NBA career in mop-up time in the fourth quarter, hitting two three-pointers for a total of 10 points.
"My teammates and the crowd were nuts.," said Wagner of the reaction when he scored his first points. "It's pretty cool the way they reacted. It's fun. It's been awhile. It's a very cool moment for me."
The Lakers will look to extend their winning streak to four when their four-game homestand comes to a close on Wednesday against the San Antonio Spurs.
Suns: T.J. Warren missed his second straight game with ankle soreness, but Kokoskov doesn't think it's serious. Jackson started for the second straight game in Warren's place. ... Ariza, who spent two seasons with the Lakers from 2007-09, attended Westchester High School near the Lakers' training complex before going to UCLA. He got a warm ovation from Lakers fans, many of whom would love to land his services as a 3-point shooting specialist for their team.
Lakers: Tyson Chandler had three points and 11 rebounds while facing the Suns for the first time since leaving Phoenix one month ago and signing with Los Angeles as a free agent. Chandler was an early mentor to Ayton.
Devin Booker scored six points before leaving with a strained left hamstring in the second quarter. Booker hurt his leg while chasing a loose ball out of bounds, going immediately to the locker room.
Booker missed three games in October after straining his left hamstring in the Suns' first game against the Lakers. He was returning Sunday from a one-game absence due to an injured left toe after stubbing it on his hotel bed during the Suns' trip to Los Angeles to play the Clippers last Wednesday.
Kokoskov had no immediate update on Booker's condition afterward.
Suns: Host Sacramento on Tuesday night.
Lakers: Host San Antonio on Wednesday night.