The Lakers look to rebound from their tough Tuesday night loss to the San Antonio Spurs by getting a much needed win against the Phoenix Suns tonight at the Staples Center. Ex-Suns Steve Nash and Mike D’Antoni will not be on the court tonight as the Lakers face a familiar foe in the Suns. Tonight marks Bernie Bickerstaff’s last game as interim coach for the Lakers as D’Antoni will take over head coaching duties beginning Sunday against Houston.
The Lakers come into this game as favorites against a Suns team featuring a starting point guard not named Steve Nash for the first time since 2003. While their new point guard, Goran Dragic, is a solid young player, he is no Steve Nash. The Suns have a young core of players including Dragic, athletic forward Michael Beasley, sharp shooter Jared Dudley, big man Marcin Gortat, and ex-Laker Shannon Brown.
WHAT 2 WATCH 4:
- Steve Blake is questionable tonight so we will see more of the Duhon/Morris combo against Dragic.
- Luis Scola vs Pau Gasol is always an exciting matchup, but look for Pau to be aggressive from the get go. He had a mediocre offensive game on Tuesday, so he should be coming out of the gates looking to establish himself on the block immediately.
- D12 vs The Polish Hammer. Gortat was Howard’s backup in Orlando from 2007 – 2010 until he was signed by Phoenix, so they are very familiar with one another. Dwight is getting healthier as the season progresses so look for him to have a break out performance against his old backup.
- Kobe has quietly had one of his most efficient seasons so far and he should be able to continue that against a team in the Suns that he historically loves to dominate.
A Friday night in the Staples Center is always entertaining and I expect nothing less tonight. The Lakers’ freestyle offense under Bickerstaff will face a similar Alvin Gentry offense that still has many of the same components as Mike D’Antoni’s offense when he was still in Phoenix. I expect a high scoring affair with the Lakers pulling out the W. As long as the effort on defense is there, tacos shall be enjoyed on Friday night in LA.
Final Score: Lakers 112, Suns 98.
Tip-off: 7:30 PM PST
LAL: D. Morris, K. Bryant, M. World Peace, P. Gasol, D. Howard
PHX: G. Dragic, J. Dudley, M. Beasley, L. Scola, M. Gortat
-LAL: TWC SN (Bill Macdonald & Stu Lantz)
-PHX: FSAZ (Steve Albert & Eddie Johnson)
-LAL: 710 AM ESPN (John Ireland & Mychal Thompson)
-PHX: 620 AM KTAR (Al McCoy & Tim Kempton)
-Steve Nash: Out (Fractured Fibula)
-Steve Blake: Questionable (Abdominal Strain)
-Jordan Hill: Probable (Wrist)
-Markieff Morris: Questionable (Back)