The Los Angeles Lakers are back at Staples Center tonight to host the Phoenix Suns.
The Lakers suffered their first loss of the season in Denver, however that loss could be seen coming at least three games before it happened. They lost despite holding a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter by uncharacteristically shooting way too many three-point shots, not taking care of the ball, not defending and executing down the stretch in said quarter.
The Lakers will be looking to start a new streak against the Suns, a team that they have already beaten this season.
The Suns are still shooting several three-point shots, but their style of play has slowed. It can also be said that the Lakers are now a quicker team or at least playing at a faster tempo. Also, the Suns are no longer running the “seven seconds or less” offense (to see it you would have to watch the Knicks).
Steve Nash is the reason why this team is still relevant as well as the subject of several trade rumors mentioning his relocation that may or may not happen. One thing is certain, the Suns big man rotation isn’t scaring anyone. They’re the second worst team in the league at defending in the low post by allowing 70.2 percent shooting. The Lakers will continue that theme and attack the Suns on the inside first. The front line has to come out aggressive and control the boards in the painted area. They put up 38 points and grabbed 37 rebounds in the last game; this group should post on average over 50 points and secure 30 rebounds.
Look for both Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol to have a bounce back game. Gasol posted a double-double against the Nuggets, but his shot was off; he shot 6-17. Odom had a good game rebounding, but took only six shots and made only one. Kobe Bryant had another excellent game as usual and like the true champion that he is, he didn’t feel the need to tell Phil Jackson that playing him over 40 minutes was too much. He will put his complete arsenal of full display and as always do whatever is needed to secure the victory. He will play the role of facilitator, unstoppable scorer and closer thus the end result will be a Lakers win.
The Lakers will score over 100 points tonight as well put on a far better defensive performance. They have to control the tempo of this game and play at their pace, play solid pick and roll defense, get back in transition and rotate out to three point shooters.
This writer wants to see the Lakers do a better job of ball movement and not shoot 30 three point shots. Despite the fact that when they’re on, they can knock down three point shots, it just still isn’t their strong suit.
Tip-off: 6:30 PM PST
• Los Angeles: FSN West (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
• Phoenix: FSN AZ (Gary Bender & Eddie Johnson)
• Los Angeles: 710 & 1330 ESPN (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
• Phoenix: KTAR 620 AM (Al McCoy & Tim Kempton)
• Andrew Bynum (Knee) Out
• Theo Ratliff (Sore Left Knee) Questionable
• Luke Walton (Strained Right Hamstring) Probable
• Josh Childress (Fractured Right Distal Phalanx)