TLN’s Game Preview: Lakers @ Suns

The Lakers are in Phoenix to face the Suns. They’re coming off of their worse game of the season by far. If I was in a restaurant and the game against Denver was a prepared meal, I’d send it back and tell the chef that it wasn’t ready. The Lakers had the worse shooting night of the season and appeared tired and not having any legs.

This was a difficult game to watch due to both teams playing bad, According to Elias Sports Bureau  the Lakers & Nuggets combined to shoot 5-for-42 (.119) from three point range. As horrible as the game was to watch Denver played better and got the win. It allowed them to end a 9-game losing streak to the Lakers.

The Lakers need to forget about that game and focus on beating the Suns today. The Suns are a confused team in a way. The team has Shaq on the roster but still wants to be a running team relying on the fast-break. The Suns would be far more dangerous if the team ran their offense through Shaq. This is what the Lakers will face today.

The Lakers have beaten the Suns three times this season and should complete the season sweep. The best way to keep the winning steak going against the Suns; the Lakers will have to control the tempo, the glass, get back in transition and rotate out to three point shooters. Limit the Suns to one shot per possession.

The match up between Luke Walton and Jason Richardson will be huge but beyond having Shaq in the lineup the Suns are playing run and gun small ball. The Lakers need to deny Shaq from catching the ball in the post and put a tremendous amount of pressure on the passer. Force Shaq to have to move his feet to catch a pass in the painted area by keeping a player between him and the passer.

This tactic will be much more difficult if Steve Nash returns from his sprained ankle but more than likely he will sit this game out as well. Pau Gasol needs to pull Shaq away from the basket and force Shaq to move his feet to defend him giving Lamar Odom the freedom and space to dominate Grant Hill in the post and on the glass.

Pau & Odom need to do a better job of recognizing a smaller player defending them and attack the basket as oppose to shooting a fall-away jumper. I love seeing Kobe Bryant in the post and forcing the Suns defense to collapse.

Defensively is where this game will be won or lost.

Tipoff: 12:30 PM PST

Television -

  • Los Angeles: ABC
  • Phoenix: ABC

Radio -

  • Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
  • Phoenix: Sports 620 KTAR (Al McCoy & Tim Kempton)

Injuries -

Lakers:

  • Andrew Bynum (Knee)

Suns:

  • Amare Stoudemire (Eye)
  • Steve Nash (Ankle)
Jeff Little is the pre-game writer for LakerNation.com. Follow him on Twitter.
  • imfasterthanur

    Anyone think it’s possible to break 70 wins? =P

  • Chad

    Nash is playing today