Games on Lakers’ Schedule this week: Phoenix Suns (17-35), Los Angeles Clippers (36-17)
The most important game this week for the Lakers is against the Phoenix Suns. Yes, the Suns.
The Lakers have returned home from their longest road trip of the season. Although they ended the trip at 4-3 and lost Pau Gasol along the way, the Lakers have been playing much better as of late.
In their last 10 games, the Lakers are 7-3, which is pretty good for a team that has looked lost all season long. The Lakers have two crucial games this week heading into the All-Star break, and they need to win both. Winning both would be a huge boost to start the remaining 28 games.
The Lakers play the Phoenix Suns (17-35) on Tuesday night and the Clippers on Thursday night (36-17), but the game against the Phoenix Suns is the more important of the two. Obviously, a win against the Clips would be huge (can’t believe I wrote that), but the Suns’ game is the one the Lakers must not take lightly. The game versus the Suns is the Game of the Week for many reasons.
To begin, it’s the first home game after a long road trip, so it is easy to have a letdown. The Lakers slept in their own beds for the first time in a long time Sunday night. After more than a week on the road, the players are glad to be home and back in the friendly confines of Staples, but it can spell disaster on the court. The Lakers have been known to come out after a road trip lacking energy, but at this point, lacking energy can only spell doom. This team can ill-afford any more let down games. The Suns will be ready and they have absolutely nothing to lose. The Lakers have to awake from the slumber of being home if they want this game.
The Lakers play the Clippers on Thursday, and that alone makes the game with the Suns even bigger. When there’s a rivalry game on the horizon – and that game is also a statement game – it is easy to overlook a lesser opponent. The Lakers cannot afford to overlook the Suns because they are looking ahead to Thursday night.
The Suns game is a revenge game. The Lakers headed into their Grammy road trip on a three game winning streak. The first game on the road trip was against the Suns and all the pundits expected the Suns to be one of the wins on the trip, but the Lakers lost to them. If the Lakers had beaten the Suns, the Lakers would have finished the road trip with a 5-2 record instead of 4-3. The one loss at the hands of the Suns was a big loss because the Lakers should have, and could have, won that game. The Lakers need to exert some revenge on the Suns for spoiling their plans, and it needs to be done decisively.
Against a team with fewer victories, the Suns’ game is a must win. The Lakers have had a recurring theme all season that they need to break: stop losing to teams that are far less superior to you.
The Suns are no exception.