The Fighter

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker, left, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers center Brook Lopez defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Phoenix Suns forward TJ Warren, left, and Lakers forward Brandon Ingram reach for a loose ball during the first half of Friday’s game at Staples Center. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Phoenix Suns forward TJ Warren, left, and Lakers forward Brandon Ingram reach for a loose ball during the first half of Friday’s game at Staples Center. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Phoenix Suns forward Josh Jackson, right, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Phoenix Suns forward Josh Jackson, right, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker, left, and Los Angeles Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope compete for a loose ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker, left, and Los Angeles Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope compete for a loose ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Phoenix Suns center Alex Len, of Ukraine, shoots during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Phoenix Suns center Alex Len, of Ukraine, shoots during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Phoenix Suns guard Tyler Ulis, left, deflects a pass intended for Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Phoenix Suns guard Tyler Ulis, left, deflects a pass intended for Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram, center, shoots as Phoenix Suns forward Marquese Chriss, left, and guard Devin Booker defend during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram, center, shoots as Phoenix Suns forward Marquese Chriss, left, and guard Devin Booker defend during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Phoenix Suns center Alex Len, right, of Ukraine, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers forward Julius Randle defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Phoenix Suns center Alex Len, right, of Ukraine, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers forward Julius Randle defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram, left, and forward Kyle Kuzma, second from left, scuffle with Phoenix Suns guard Tyler Ulis, second from right, and guard Devin Booker during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, in Los Angeles. The Suns won 122-113. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram, left, and forward Kyle Kuzma, second from left, scuffle with Phoenix Suns guard Tyler Ulis, second from right, and guard Devin Booker during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, in Los Angeles. The Suns won 122-113. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma, center, is hit in the face by Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker, below, as he passes the ball while under pressure from Suns forward TJ Warren during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, in Los Angeles. The Suns won 122-113. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma, center, is hit in the face by Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker, below, as he passes the ball while under pressure from Suns forward TJ Warren during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, in Los Angeles. The Suns won 122-113. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker, right, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball, left, and guard Jordan Clarkson defend during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, in Los Angeles. The Suns won 122-113. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker, right, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball, left, and guard Jordan Clarkson defend during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, in Los Angeles. The Suns won 122-113. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Phoenix Suns forward Josh Jackson, right, grabs a loose ball away from Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, in Los Angeles. The Suns won 122-113. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Phoenix Suns forward Josh Jackson, right, grabs a loose ball away from Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, in Los Angeles. The Suns won 122-113. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Phoenix Suns forward TJ Warren, right, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, in Los Angeles. The Suns won 122-113. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Phoenix Suns forward TJ Warren, right, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, in Los Angeles. The Suns won 122-113. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers forward Corey Brewer, right, shoots as Phoenix Suns center Greg Monroe defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, in Los Angeles. The Suns won 122-113. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Los Angeles Lakers forward Corey Brewer, right, shoots as Phoenix Suns center Greg Monroe defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, in Los Angeles. The Suns won 122-113. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker, right, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers center Brook Lopez defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, in Los Angeles. The Suns won 122-113. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker, right, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers center Brook Lopez defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, in Los Angeles. The Suns won 122-113. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram, left, shoots as Phoenix Suns center Alex Len, right, of Ukraine, defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, in Los Angeles. The Suns won 122-113. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram, left, shoots as Phoenix Suns center Alex Len, right, of Ukraine, defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, in Los Angeles. The Suns won 122-113. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram, left, shoots as Phoenix Suns center Alex Len, right, of Ukraine, defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, in Los Angeles. The Suns won 122-113. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram, left, shoots as Phoenix Suns center Alex Len, right, of Ukraine, defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, in Los Angeles. The Suns won 122-113. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram, right, shoots as Phoenix Suns center Alex Len, left, of Ukraine, and forward Dragan Bender, of Croatia, defend during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, in Los Angeles. The Suns won 122-113. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram, right, shoots as Phoenix Suns center Alex Len, left, of Ukraine, and forward Dragan Bender, of Croatia, defend during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, in Los Angeles. The Suns won 122-113. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball shoots during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns, Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, in Los Angeles. The Suns won 122-113. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

    Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball shoots during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns, Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, in Los Angeles. The Suns won 122-113. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

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    LOS ANGELES — After meeting three times in the first month of the season, the Lakers and Phoenix Suns will spend the next few months apart so they can think about their feelings.

    Three meetings, three scuffles. Only two Lakers victories.

    On Friday, the latest installment in a series of near-brawls came with 3:17 left in a 122-113 Suns win. Phoenix led by nine when Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope continued to harass point guard Tyler Ulis after a timeout was called. Ulis and Caldwell-Pope started shoving and the well-rehearsed choreography began again.

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    It was on display Oct. 20, when Devin Booker fouled Corey Brewer on a breakaway dunk and Larry Nance Jr. arrived to wallop Booker with a shoulder. Episode 2 came Monday in Pheonix, when Booker began yapping at the Lakers bench after he said a Lakers assistant coach talked trash.

    “I think because of the fact we’ve played three games in a short period of time it’s kind of like a playoff series,” Coach Luke Walton said. “By game 3, 4, 5 things start to get a little chippy.”

    Years of jostling for lottery position turned into real-life jostling.

    Caldwell-Pope, Ulis and Suns’ rookie Josh Jackson, who came rushing in, all received technical fouls. Lonzo Ball avoided the altercation entirely, not breaking stride when he looked over his shoulder at the unfolding scene.

    “It’s the NBA,” Ball said. “People ain’t really gonna fight, so I ain’t trying to get no tech.”

    Brandon Ingram was on the same wavelength, saying, “I think it’s all false action.”

    The skirmish added late intrigue to a game that the Suns would have won easily if not for the heroics of Kyle Kuzma.

    The rookie forward poured in 14 of his career-high 30 points in the third quarter, helping the Lakers trim a 16-point deficit to 89-82 entering the final period. He added 10 rebounds.

    The Lakers caught the Suns on the second night of a back-to-back. A night earlier, Phoenix allowed Houston to score a staggering 90 points in the first half. Like with the Lakers’ two wins in the earlier matchups, Thursday’s loss to the Rockets had no bearing on Friday’s affair.

    “Just because we beat a team twice doesn’t mean we’re better than they are,” Walton said.

    Kuzma was one of two Lakers with a double-double. Brook Lopez finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Ingram added 17 points, six rebounds and four assists.

    Before the third quarter, Kuzma’s night was off to a rough start. He missed his first six shots and at halftime had scored just two points.

    “He’s a matchup nightmare for teams,” Walton said. “But in the first half he took a lot of shots that were off-balance and quick and not what we were looking for.”

    Booker led the Suns with 33 points on 13-of-27 shooting.

    Ball, who made waves on Friday by sporting a tight new haircut, finished with six points, six rebounds and six assists. He also added five steals. Most notably, he played the entire fourth quarter after Walton had kept him on the bench in the fourth each of the two previous games.

    “We know that it’s a long season,” Walton said before the game, “and there’s ups and downs throughout that season. We know what kind of player he is, he knows what kind of player he is and he’s going to be just fine.”

    Ball was the only Lakers starter not to score in double figures, but he was useful on the court, if not spectacular. His third quarter lob to Lopez for a two-handed dunk was perhaps the play of the night.

    Lonzo throws up the oop for Brook Lopez! #LakeShow (📺: @SpectrumSN & @spectdeportes) pic.twitter.com/KBCch6RxI9

    — Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) November 18, 2017

    The Lakers (6-10) have lost five of their last six games, including two straight at home after spending the previous week on the road. They host the Denver Nuggets on Sunday and the Chicago Bulls two nights later before playing at Sacramento the night before Thanksgiving.

    Julius Randle scored 13 points off the bench for the Lakers, who shot 49.5 percent from the field and made just 7 of 25 3-point attempts. The Suns shot 47.1 percent, including 40.6 percent on 32 3-point attempts.

    With three games against each other under their belts the newly minted enemies will spend the next three months playing other teams. They meet one more time: Feb. 6 at Staples Center.

    🎥 Lakers keep it close behind Kuzma’s 30 points but fall to the Suns, 122-113. pic.twitter.com/IUZCom12Dl

    — Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) November 18, 2017

    🎥 Kyle Kuzma talks after his career-high 30-point performance vs Phoenix pic.twitter.com/NlfJWvpl6l

    — Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) November 18, 2017

    Source : http://www.ocregister.com/2017/11/17/lakers-dont-give-up-the-fight-but-lose-122-113-to-suns/

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