Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Lakers Preview
The Los Angeles Lakers have had some struggles lately, but they still have a healthy lead out West, and they should feel no immediate danger as they play host to the Phoenix Suns tonight.
The Lakers are 39-12 and won their last game, but are 6-4 in their last 10. Still, they retain a solid home record of 17-7 and have a three game lead over the Denver Nuggets. The Phoenix Suns are currently 13th in the West with a 21-32 record. They lost their most recent game and are just 3-7 in their last 10 games. The Suns are 11-14 on the road this season.
In their last matchup, the Lakers beat the Suns on New Year’s Day 117-107. LeBron James led the Lakers with a triple-double of 31 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists, while Devin Booker had 32 points for the Suns.
Time: 10:30 PM ET
Arena: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Channel: NBA TV
Suns: Deandre Ayton (Q), Tyler Johnson, Aron Baynes, Dario Saric, Frank Kaminsky (O)
Lakers: DeMarcus Cousins (O)
Phoenix Suns Starting Lineup
The Suns had a back-to-back on the schedule last week against two tough Western Conference contenders in the Houston Rockets and Denver Nuggets.
They had a huge high after defeating the Rockets 127-91 as Kelly Oubre Jr. went off for 39 points and nine rebounds. Oubre finally had some stability after being mentioned in trades pretty much every year since his rookie year.
“Just another game for me. Got to go out there and do my job,” Oubre said after scoring a career-high. “I had a hot hand tonight and my guys did a good job of finding me, and we played the right way.”
Unfortunately for the Suns, the celebrations couldn’t last long as they were brought back down to earth by the second place Denver Nuggets the next night 117-108. Jamal Murray was a thorn in the Suns’ side as he scored 36 points.
The Suns didn’t have trouble putting up points. Deandre Ayton had a monster game with 28 points and 19 rebounds, Devin Booker added 21, Oubre had 20 and Ricky Rubio contributed 154 points.
The Suns’ collapse in the second quarter hurt them and while they tried to crawl back, the Nuggets put up 34 in the final stanza to secure the victory.
Los Angeles Lakers Starting Lineup
The Los Angeles Lakers bounced back from a 121-111 loss to the Houston Rockets on Friday with a close 125-120 win over the Golden State Warriors on Saturday. They’ve got two more games until the All-Star break against the Suns tonight and the Nuggets on Wednesday night, and Lakers head coach Frank Vogel is focused on ending the half-season off right with two wins.
“This whole stretch, from New Year’s to All-Star break, is kind of the dog days of the NBA season, and you have to fight the monotony on a daily basis,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “But we’ve got two big games coming up. We’ve got to lock in and try to get Ws.”
While the Lakers had seven players in double figures, defensively they were challenged a bit by new Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins, who scored 24 points. and Marquese Chriss, who finished with 26 and 9.
Leading the Lakers was Anthony Davis with 27 points and 10 rebounds, and LeBron James, who had 22 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds in a near triple-double.
Kyle Kuzma, who has not transitioned well from last year where he looked like a breakout star, stayed in LA despite trade rumors, and he finished the game with 12 points and six assists. Along Vogel’s chief priorities for the second half of the season will be figuring out just how to integrate Kuzma better. The Lakers don’t want to bench Danny Green, Avery Bradley or JaVale McGee, especially because of what they bring on defense, but the Lakers could look to stagger Kuzma with the starters.
Key Player Matchups
LeBron James vs. Kelly Oubre Jr.
It’s hard to use the term career resurgence when discussing a young player, but Oubre Jr. seems to be experiencing exactly this since he was traded to the Suns from the Wizards. However he has a tough matchup tonight, and he hasn’t played well against the Lakers this season, averaging 13.5 points per game, whereas James is averaging 25 points per game against the Suns this season.
It’s basically take your pick between Davis and LeBron and both are expected to have big fantasy games, but I’m going with Davis tonight as he has a very favorable matchup against an undersized Mikal Bridges with several of the Suns bigs sitting out. He is available for $16k on FanDuel and has a projection of 50.3 points.
You can go with Booker or Ayton on Phoenix, but Booker will have to deal with Danny Green and Avery Bradley all game. Ayton is available for $14.5k and is coming off a big game. He is projected for 38.4 points tonight.
Bet on Matchup
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