After taking the weekend off for the first time this season, the Los Angeles Lakers are back in action, as they play host to the Phoenix Suns looking to end their four-game losing streak.
This will be the fourth and final meeting between the Suns and Lakers with Phoenix taking all three of the previous games. The first meeting, played in Phoenix, was a complete blowout, as Isaiah Thomas led the way with 23 points on 9 of 11 shooting.
The second meeting came down to the wire, as the Suns were able to put the Lakers away thanks to a three-point bucket by P.J. Tucker down the stretch. Despite Kobe Bryant scoring 39 points, the Suns beat the Lakers at the STAPLES Center, 112-106.
The third meeting, also played in L.A., was very similar to the second one. It, too, came down to wire with Markieff Morris hitting a huge shot late in the game this time around to give Phoenix the victory, 116-107.
Consequently, the Suns have dominated the Lakers over the last two seasons, beating them six out of the last seven times, including seven straight at the US Airways Center.
One matchup problem this season for the Lakers has been Isaiah Thomas. The 5-foot-9 point guard has given L.A. fits with his ability to break down the defense and score around the basket. He has averaged 20.0 points, 5.3 assists, and 2.0 steals against the Lakers.
Thanks to Thomas’s offensive production, the Suns are ranked second in bench scoring at 43.4 points per game. The streaky Gerald Green is also another threat off the Suns bench, as he could put up huge scoring numbers on certain nights.
The Lakers will counter with Nick Young, who had been struggling throughout the month until he found his stride against the Utah Jazz in the team’s last game. Young put in 23 points on 4 of 9 shooting, including a perfect 13 of 13 from the costless-throw line in a losing effort.
The Lakers were without Kobe Bryant in that game, and he is doubtful to play in this one as well. If he is indeed out, Wayne Ellington will continue to receive the starting nod in his place.
Coming into this game, the Lakers will have to clean up the turnovers. They committed 21 miscues against Utah, something that was very uncharacteristic of them. They are usually outstanding at taking care of the ball, averaging 12.7 turnovers per game this season which is fifth best in the league.
Meanwhile, the Suns, who are completely healthy, are coming in with solid victories over the Minnesota Timberwolves and Cleveland Cavaliers in their last two games. They are currently seeded eighth in the Western conference and own a three-game lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder and New Orleans Pelicans. They will definitely need to take care of business against an inferior team like the Lakers to maintain their edge at the eighth spot.
The Lakers, who are on a four-game road trip, come in with a 6-14 away record, while the Suns, who are currently on an eight-game homestand, possess an 11-7 home record.
The game tips off at 10:00 pm Eastern Standard Time.