Los Angeles Lakers vs Phoenix Suns 3/13/22: Starting Lineups, Matchup Preview, Betting Odds, Live Stream

Los Angeles Lakers vs Phoenix Suns Matchup Preview (3/13/22)

LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers (29-37) travel to play the 1st seed Phoenix Suns (53-14) Sunday night. The Lakers are 2-6 since the All-Star break with the 24th Offensive Rating and 20th Defensive Rating. They are coming off a 122-109 win over the Washington Wizards. The Lakers were down 7 points at halftime, but they dominated in the second half. LeBron James defied Father Time with 50 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists on 72 FG% and 66.7 3PT%. Malik Monk scored 21 points on 5/7 from three, and Talen Horton-Tucker added 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists off the bench. The Wizards saw former Laker Kyle Kuzma drop 23 points and 7 rebounds on 50 FG%. New addition Kristaps Porzingis had a double-double (14 points, 14 rebounds), but he shot a dreadful 23 FG%. Rookie Corey Kispert chipped in 21 points on 5/11 from three. The Lakers will once again be without Anthony Davis for their game against the Suns. Kendrick Nunn also remains out. 

The Suns are 5-4 since the All-Star break, but they have played every game without Chris Paul. Over that span, they own the 19th Offensive Rating and 2nd Defensive Rating. The Suns are coming off a 117-112 loss to the Toronto Raptors. Cameron Payne continued to excel in the starting point guard position. He had 24 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists on 50 FG%. Devin Booker added 22 points, 3 rebounds, and 7 assists on 50 FG%. Deandre Ayton was an efficient scorer – 16 points on 72.7 FG% – but he allowed the Raptors to grab 12 offensive rebounds. The Suns couldn’t stop Gary Trent Jr, who dropped 42 points on 13/21 from the field and 8/11 from three. Pascal Siakam had a near triple-double at 25 points, 7 rebounds, and 10 assists. Chris Paul is out for a few more weeks. Cameron Johnson is a game time decision; if he can play, the bench would receive an offensive boost. 

Los Angeles Lakers vs Phoenix Suns Betting Odds

The Suns are 2-0 this season against the Lakers. They won 115-105 on October 22nd behind Devin Booker’s 22 points and Mikal Bridges’ 21 points. On December 21st, the Suns won 109-90 in a game where Booker produced 24 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists. I like the Suns to win this game and stay undefeated in the season series. LeBron is playing lights out right now, but the supporting cast pales in comparison to the Suns. The Lakers lost to the Houston Rockets on Wednesday – the Houston Rockets! I do not trust this team in the slightest outside of LeBron, while I trust the Suns to compete defensively and put up decent offensive numbers. The game will not be a high scoring one. The Suns are excellent defensively and neither offense is putting up gaudy numbers right now.

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TV Schedule

Date: 3/13/22
Time: 9:00 PM ET
Arena: Footprint Center – Phoenix, AZ
Channel: ESPN

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Los Angeles Lakers Starting Lineup

PG: Russell Westbrook
SG: Austin Reaves
SF: Malik Monk
PF: LeBron James
C: Dwight Howard

Los Angeles Lakers Analysis

If LeBron has a bad game, the Lakers are virtually guaranteed to lose. If he plays extremely well, the Lakers are still not very impressive. In his last 7 games, LeBron is averaging 33.4 PPG, 9.7 RPG, and 5.1 APG on a 52/36/85 shooting split. The Lakers are 2-5 in that span despite LeBron’s greatness. Anthony Davis is injured, and Russell Westbrook is in a role that accentuates his weaknesses and diminishes his strengths. If the Lakers are going to beat the Suns, they need production from Malik Monk and Talen Horton-Tucker. Monk is one of the few players who can create their own shot off the dribble. He’s averaging 16.5 PPG on a 47/45/66 shooting split in his last 6 games. That is on only 13.3 FGA per game; Monk needs to become a larger part of the Lakers offense. They can use him as a spot up shooter (39.9 3PT%), but allowing him to run the pick and roll more often would take pressure off of LeBron. 

Talen Horton-Tucker is a hit or miss player, but he can have a large all-around impact when he is playing well. He’s produced 16.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 2.5 APG in his last two games, and the Lakers need him to keep this up against the deep Suns bench. The biggest question for the team is the center position. Do they start Stanley Johnson again? I think it will be a trainwreck if they do because Deandre Ayton is a mobile 7’0” center who is shredding teams right now. Johnson is only 6’7” and 242 lbs, so Ayton will make quick work of him. Dwight Howard has obvious flaws, but his size and strength would come in handy against Ayton. Deandre Ayton operates in the paint and rarely leaves it, which suits Howard perfectly since he cannot hang outside the paint. The Lakers will have to live with the drawbacks Howard brings because Stanley Johnson would be played off the floor by Ayton. It’s not Johnson’s fault; he is just out of position and should never play center. 

Phoenix Suns Starting Lineup

PG: Cameron Payne
SG: Devin Booker
SF: Mikal Bridges
PF: Jae Crowder
C: Deandre Ayton

Phoenix Suns Analysis

The Suns have one name circled: LeBron James. If they can limit his influence, then the Lakers likely collapse. He is by far their best scorer and playmaker, and the Suns should be happy if Westbrook handles the ball for the majority of the game. The Suns can throw Mikal Bridges and Jae Crowder at LeBron while having Ayton to man the middle. Crowder is stronger than Bridges, so he can handle LeBron’s drives better. Bridges would suffocate LeBron’s jump shot better than Crowder could though because of his quickness and length. Overall, it makes more sense to stick Crowder on LeBron because the Suns should consider it a win if the vast majority of LeBron’s shots come outside the paint. 

Offensively, the Suns can rely on their deadly pick and roll. Ayton is a mismatch for the Lakers, and he can easily record a 20-point double-double here. Mikal Bridges and Jae Crowder provide timely scoring and necessary spacing. Payne or Booker can both run the pick and roll or catch and shoot. In his last 5 games, Payne is averaging 18.6 PPG, 10.0 APG, and 4.4 RPG on a 41/37/76 shooting split. The Suns have not fallen off a cliff because Payne is admirably mimicking Chris Paul’s role as the primary ball handler and facilitator. Devin Booker has been relatively quiet scoring-wise, but that can be attributed to an increased role as a playmaker. The Suns should get Booker to focus back on scoring and allow Payne to orchestrate the offense. Westbrook, Reaves, and Monk are not the best defenders, so the Suns backcourt can feast in this game. 

Los Angeles Lakers vs Phoenix Suns Daily Fantasy Picks

I like LeBron, Payne, and Ayton in this matchup. The entire Lakers offense revolves around LeBron, so he is guaranteed to have massive volume here. His shot has been falling recently, and he knows he has to score 35+ to win. The Suns are a sturdy defense, but LeBron’s workload will allow him to stuff the box score. The Lakers are poor at defending opposing centers and the point of attack. I think Payne and Ayton pick apart the Lakers in the pick and roll. Booker will draw the defensive attention, and Lakers wings cannot leave Bridges or Crowder to help inside. Look for Payne to score 22+ points and produce 8+ assists. 

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Braxton has been covering the NBA for Lineups since the 2022 season. He's worked with multiple collegiate coaching staffs regarding analytics and scouting, which has allowed him to understand the game on a deeper level. Braxton is also a contributor at Thunderous Intentions.

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