The Phoenix Suns (18-19) take on the Los Angeles Lakers (19-19) this Thursday (1/11/24). Get Suns vs. Lakers moneyline and spread odds, as well as predictions, starting lineups, injuries, and key matchups below.
Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Lakers Prediction
The Lakers consistently get off to sluggish starts, as they are being outscored by 13.3 points per 100 possessions during the first quarter – good for 29th in the league (via NBA.com). Phoenix, on the other hand, ranks 11th in first quarter Net Rating.
Los Angeles boasts a formidable interior defense due to Anthony Davis, but they surrender the fourth most open plus wide open three-point attempts per game. Phoenix’s perimeter-oriented offense definitely possesses the shooters to capitalize. Devin Booker, Kevin Durant, Grayson Allen, and Eric Gordon combine to shoot a 42.9 3PT% on just over 22 attempts per game. Bradley Beal has struggled with efficiency this season, but he remains a capable outside shooter too.
Defensively, Nurkic has the size and physicality to bother Anthony Davis inside the paint, as well as meet the unstoppable force that is a LeBron James drive. Durant’s length will also be a key factor versus James.
For all of Phoenix’s struggles, they still outscore opponents by eight points per 100 possessions when Booker, Durant, and Beal are on the court together. Their depth though…it’s grim. The Suns rank 24th in bench Net Rating because they lack reserve ball handlers and defenders. Therefore, taking Phoenix to win the first quarter instead of the game is wiser because it mostly removes the bench from the equation.
Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Lakers Prediction: Suns 1st Quarter Moneyline (-108 FD)
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Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Lakers Best Odds
Both teams can be found at +1 in this classic matchup between all-time greats LeBron James and Kevin Durant. Los Angeles is only 7-11 against the spread at home, while Phoenix owns a 6-8-1 record against the spread on the road.
For Los Angeles’ -105 to be profitable in the long run, the Suns need to win here about 51 percent of the time.
Phoenix Suns Starting Lineup
Los Angeles Lakers Starting Lineup
Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Lakers Injuries
Backup guard Damion Lee remains out for the Suns, while the Lakers will be without Gabe Vincent and Rui Hachimura. Starter Cam Reddish is questionable too. Additionally, LeBron James and Anthony Davis are expected to suit up.
Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Lakers Key Matchups
Jusuf Nurkic Foul Trouble
The Lakers rank eighth in free throw attempt rate, and it’s a guarantee that Anthony Davis and LeBron James will challenge Nurkic at the rim. Phoenix lacks a reliable backup center that can protect the paint, so it would be cataclysmic if Nurkic gets into foul trouble early. He averages the ninth most fouls per game across the NBA, which is worrisome.
Cam Reddish’s Defense
Reddish has been a defensive force this season. No passing lanes are safe because of his length and anticipation; he subsequently ranks 10th in steal percentage. It’s likely that Reddish receives the Booker assignment – a massive responsibility. If Reddish can simply make Booker work for every shot and transform him into solely a scorer, then Los Angeles’ defense could clinch the quarter.