Preview Phoenix Suns (16-10) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (13-14): It is the Slash Bro's v. The Replacement Lakers

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

If Gene Hackman does not coach this game I am going to be one disappointed basketball fan thanks to this metaphor land I am about to create...

As the Phoenix Suns (16-10) continue to build off of their bludgeoning all-star duo of Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe the Los Angeles Lakers (13-14) are simply trying to field a team.

The Mash Unit as they are becoming in LA will be without Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Steve Blake, Jordan Farmar are all out and Pau Gasol will be playing, but not at 100% as he is dealing with a health ailment. These are not the Lakers that anyone is used to seeing, you father, you, or your little brother. They are a Mash Unit filled with replacement players worthy of a Hollywood Movie.

I am surprised that Orlando Jones is not suiting up for this one or Keanu Reeves taking the helm as starting point guard. Maybe in Los Angeles. Maybe.

With all of the injuries the Lakers look a lot like the Suns did last year. A parade of players playing 15-25 minutes a game, nobody taking control as "the guy," and a coaching staff trying to be creative with what they have. To his credit, despite refusing to do so here in Phoenix, Mike D'Antoni has done a good job with the next man up strategy going deep into his bench to find players to produce. He has turned Nick Young and Xavier Henry into viable wing options that are playing pretty well on the season as a whole.

If anything has come from the injury to Bryant it is the play of Henry, a career resurgence. Henry is on pace to match or exceed his career numbers from the first three years of his career in the D'Antoni system.

Playing without a true point guard will make this a tough match-up for the Lakers.

They brought in Kendall Marshall as a body to play minutes, but as Suns fans know he is not the answer. Jodie Meeks ran the point last game and with that the team shot 32.5% from the field with 11 total assists. It will only get worse against the Suns with the two-headed monster on the perimeter of Dragic and Bledsoe.

Over the past eight games the duo are averaging 39.8 points, 10.4 assists, and 3.4 steals per game on 49.1% shooting, 42.0% from three.

Good luck, Lakers.

Preview Video Chat With Lakers Nation

Projected Starting Line-Ups

PG - Eric Bledsoe v. Jodie Meeks

SG - Goran Dragic v. Xavier Henry

SF - P.J. Tucker v. Wesley Johnson

PF - Channing Frye v. Shawne Williams

C - Miles Plumlee v. Pau Gasol

Potential Suns Inactives: Alex Len (Left Ankle, Game-to-Game) and Emeka Okafor (Neck, Out Indefinitely)

Potential Lakers Inactives: Kobe Bryant (Broken Leg, Out), Steve Nash (Back/Hamstring, Out), Pau Gasol (Respiratory Illness, Game Time Decision), Steve Blake (Right Elbow, Out), and Jordan Farmar (Left Hamstring, Out)

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