The Los Angeles Lakers claimed their third consecutive victory on Sunday night, and stay undefeated in the new year. This recent win was very impressive as the Lakers were able to do it in a convincing manner without Kobe Bryant. Behind 30 points from Lou Williams, the Lakers were able to knock off the Phoenix Suns, 97-77.
The night also saw rookie Larry Nance Jr. with another solid stat line and the coaching staff is raving about his recent play. Nance Jr. finished the game with 15 points and 14 rebounds and he had a plus/minus of +16.
After the win, head coach Byron Scott talked about the rookie and just how effective he is while on the court, via Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters:
Byron Scott praising Larry Nance: "I haven't run one play for Larry Nance, & he's 15 & 14 tonight, or he's 12 & 10 the next night."
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) January 4, 2016
This season, Larry Nance Jr. has been averaging 5.8 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. However, in just two games in January, he has been putting up 11.5 points to go along with 14.0 rebounds per game. The rookie is also seeing a lot more playing time than before and he is taking advantage of the extra minutes on the court.
The Lakers have developed a solid core of young players and they are slowly beginning to really improve their skill set. At this point, Coach Scott has Nance Jr. in the starting lineup over Julius Randle and it will be interesting to see how he handles their minutes moving forward. If Nance Jr. continues to play this well, it is unclear as to how that will affect the playing time of Randle.
Los Angeles will look to continue their winning streak on Tuesday when it hosts the best team in the NBA and the defending champion, Golden State Warriors. The Warriors are dealing with some injury problems as of late, but that does not mean they are struggling. The team is talented at almost every position and the Lakers will have their hands full on Tuesday.