The (15-3) Los Angeles Lakers will host the division rival (15-5) Phoenix Suns. This is the second of four games this season against the second-place Suns. The defending NBA Champions are still enjoying playing 17 of the first 21 games at home to start the season.
The Lakers and their fans are still buzzing about watching the thrilling 108-107 win against the Miami Heat while adding them to the long list of teams stung by the Black Mamba!
In the first meaningful fourth quarter since the NBA finals; the outcome for the Purple and Gold looked bleak. However, the Lakers backcourt executed the offensive to perfection in the waning minutes, with Derek Fisher hitting a three to bring the team within a point and Kobe’s desperation 3-pointer off the glass at the buzzer became the nail in the coffin for Dwayne Wade and the Heat.
Kobe Bryant showed once again why he’s the best closer in the game. The shot will go down as one of his best shots at the buzzer of his career, despite the fact that Bryant refused to take credit for it stating, “It was the luckiest shot I’ve ever taken, by far… it felt good, (but) I just couldn’t believe this ball might go in on this shot.”
Tonight’s game will be the second consecutive run against a team on the second of back-to-back games. The Lakers issued Phoenix a 121-102 beat down on November 12th with Kobe doing damage in the post and without the services of All-Star Power Forward Pau Gasol, he averages 18.3 points & 10 rebounds against the Suns. His return to the line up has brought balance back to the Lakers which look to extend its winning streak to nine games.
Phoenix played their starters extended minutes in their win over the Kings. The Suns are a team that wants to run up and down the floor and outscore their opponent. The Lakers need to control the tempo and get back in transition on defense. In their previous meeting, the Lakers did a great job of defending point guard Steve Nash, limiting long outlet passes and shutting down the screen and roll play.
The Suns will use this play several ways with the screener slipping the screen and attacking the basket as well as the screener setting up for an open jump shot. Channing Frye has always had a 3-point range; the Lakers can’t leave him.
I expect a repeat performance tonight defensively. The Lakers will use their dominant front line with Andrew Bynum & Pau Gasol and destroy the Suns with points in the painted area.
The Lakers need to stop the dribble penetration, challenge every shot and limit the Suns to one shot per possession. Jordan Farmar is starting to be consistent but the rest of the reserves have to step their game up.
Tip-off: 6:30 PM PST
- Los Angeles: FS West (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- Phoenix: My45 KUTP (Tom Leander, Eddie Johnson & Scott Williams)
- Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Phoenix: KTAR 620 AM (Al McCoy & Tim Kempton)
- Luke Walton (Pinched Nerve, Back)
* Leandro Barbosa (Sprained Ankle)
* Louis Amundson (Flu)