Julius Randle holds the ball against the Dallas Mavericks on Feb. 23, 2018.
(Ty Nowell/Lakers.com)

Randle's Triple-Double Leads Lakers' 9th Straight Home Win

by Joey Ramirez
Digital Reporter

Julius Randle has dominated the post lately, as he entered Friday’s game against Dallas on a streak of three straight 20-point games.

While he didn’t reach that mark against the Mavericks, he was even more effective because of his ability to punish the opponent for sending double teams.

Randle constantly located open shooters en route to 18 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists — his fifth career triple-double — and a 124-1021 wire-to-wire victory.

“They started doubling him every time, so we’ve been working on him playing at a better pace once he gets into attack mode,” coach Luke Walton said, “and then getting reps in practice, recognizing the double team and knowing where our shooters are going to be and where our cutters are coming from.”

Randle bulldozed every big man that Dallas sent his way, finishing the night 9-of-14 from the field. When the Mavericks (18-41) were forced to pay him more attention, he began whipping dimes across the floor and in transition.

While Randle provided the offense, the Lakers (24-34) came together to clamp down defensively.

Against a team that dropped 130 points on them two weeks ago, the Lakers showed improved tenacity and communication, holding them to a 40.7 percent clip from the field.

Dallas did hit an eye-popping 19 3-pointers, briefly making a run in the third quarter. However, the Lakers were able to maintain a large cushion the entire rest of the way.

Thanks largely to Randle’s power, the Lakers dominated down low, enjoying a 62-26 scoring advantage in the paint and a 62-29 rebounding chasm.

L.A. also received a boost from Lonzo Ball, who came off the bench after missing the previous 15 games due to a sprained left MCL.

Ball only played 17 minutes but packed them with production, ending the night with nine points, seven rebounds and six assists. He also hit three 3-pointers, the first of which came just seven seconds after checking into the game.

“It felt good to be back on the court and do what I love to do,” Ball said.

The Lakers will continue to be cautious with Ball as he returns from injury. The rookie will not play in Saturday’s back-to-back against Sacramento, so he will have to be content with helping the Lakers to their ninth straight win at home.

The Lakers opened the game with a 23-5 lead. … L.A. received strong performances from Josh Hart (12 points, 10 rebounds), Ingram (15 points, nine rebounds) and Thomas (17 points). … A crowd of 18,997 sold out Staples Center.

Julius messed around tonight.

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