The Los Angeles Lakers (3-5) meet the Phoenix Suns (4-4) this Friday (11/10/23) in an In-Season Tournament matchup. Get Lakers vs. Suns moneyline and spread odds, as well as predictions, starting lineups, injuries, and key matchups below.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Phoenix Suns Prediction
Because both benches are currently volatile, I am reducing their influence by targeting Phoenix to win the first quarter.
Bradley Beal made his debut on Wednesday for Phoenix. He was certainly rusty, but his ball handling and playmaking contributions were huge for a Suns squad that mostly rosters catch-and-shoot players.
The Lakers rank 25th in net open plus wide open three-point attempts per 100 possessions. Opponents are killing them in the three-point shot quality battle, which doesn’t bode well for them in this matchup. Sharpshooters Grayson Allen (51 3PT%) and Keita Bates-Diop (45.5 3PT%) are scorching hot from deep at the moment. They surround two elite isolation scorers in Beal and Durant, while Nurkic provides Phoenix with an interior presence.
Outside of Anthony Davis (who is questionable), this Lakers starting lineup has been extremely underwhelming defensively, especially at the point-of-attack. As a result, the Suns’ starting lineup should generate excellent shot quality and cook Los Angeles. If Davis cannot play, then the Lakers will completely crumble too without their mess-cleaner on the court.
On the other end, Los Angeles is 28th in Offensive Rating and dead last in 3PT%. They are struggling to generate shots when LeBron James isn’t orchestrating the possession, and their role players cannot buy a bucket. Based on the three-point gap, it will be difficult for Los Angeles to keep pace here, especially if Davis’ interior scoring is removed due to injury.
Finally, Los Angeles has struggled to start games all season. They have won the first quarter in only one of eight games, and opponents are outscoring them by 36.2 points per 100 possessions in the first quarter (via NBA.com). Meanwhile, Phoenix has won the first quarter in five of eight games and ranks 7th in first quarter Net Rating.
Overall, first quarter trends and the starting lineups matchup heavily indicate Phoenix here.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Phoenix Suns Prediction: Suns 1st Quarter Moneyline
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Los Angeles Lakers vs. Phoenix Suns Best Odds
The Suns are favored by 3.5 points despite Devin Booker’s injury. The Lakers must win this game about 42 percent of the time for their +140 moneyline to be a profitable play in the long run. Otherwise, the bet holds a negative expected value.
Los Angeles Lakers Starting Lineup
Phoenix Suns Starting Lineup
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Phoenix Suns Injuries
The Lakers will be without Gabe Vincent, Jarred Vanderbilt, and rookie Jalen Hood-Schifino. Anthony Davis and Jaxson Hayes are also questionable. Meanwhile, Devin Booker and Damion Lee are out for Phoenix.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Phoenix Suns Key Matchups
Anthony Davis Health
Davis is a top Defensive Player of the Year candidate; he leads the NBA in blocks per game and has single-handedly prevented this Lakers defense from being a bottom five unit. He’s also contributing 23.9 points, 12 rebounds, and 3.3 assists on 55/42/88 shooting splits. Outside of James, Davis is their most reliable scorer. If the big man cannot suit up, then Los Angeles’ chances take a massive hit
Lakers Free Throws
Free throws are an easy source of points because they hold a monstrous expected points per possession. Los Angeles ranked 2nd in free throw attempt rate last season, and they currently sit at 7th. If Phoenix cannot defend without fouling and simply force a non-efficient team to make their shots, then the Suns’ offense should pull away here.