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Game Preview: Suns look for 9th straight win over Lakers

Both teams are extremely short-handed tonight — no LBJ, no AD, no Book...

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Phoenix Suns Rob Schumacher-Arizona Republic-USA TODAY Sports

What: Los Angeles Lakers (13-16) at Phoenix Suns (18-12)

When: 7:00 PM AZ time

Where: Footprint Center, Phoenix, AZ

Watch: Bally Sports AZ, NBA TV

Listen: 98.7 FM


The Phoenix Suns finally look to be getting back on track after a massive comeback win fueled by 58 points from a red-hot Devin Booker against their newest rival, the New Orleans Pelicans who they beat in the first round of the 2022 Playoffs.

Now comes another rival.

Phoenix is currently on an 8-game win streak over one of their oldest rivals the Los Angeles Lakers dating back to their first-round matchup in the 2021 NBA Playoffs. Thank you, Andre Drummond.

The buzzkill is that Devin Booker is officially listed as OUT tonight with groin soreness (from carrying the team) in their win against the Pelicans this weekend. The Suns also may be missing half of their regular rotation. The Lakers are missing Anthony Davis, who suffered a foot injury on Friday night against the Nuggets and has no timetable to return.

**UPDATE***

  • Booker (groin) has been downgraded to OUT, along with Payne (foot), Landale (concussion), Johnson (knee), Crowder (selfies) and Washington (hip) all OUT. Ayton is still listed as QUESTIONABLE.
  • Lakers say LeBron James (left ankle soreness), Austin Reaves (right ankle sprain) and Anthony Davis (right foot soreness) are OUT. Patrick Beverley (right calf soreness) is questionable.

Stats at a Glance

Phoenix Suns

  • Offensive Rating: 116.1 (3rd)
  • Defensive Rating: 111.5 (10th)
  • Net Rating: 4.6 (5th)
  • True Shooting %: 57.4% (15th)
  • Pace: 98.73 (21st)

Los Angeles Lakers

  • Offensive Rating: 111.0 (19th)
  • Defensive Rating: 111.5 (11th)
  • Net Rating: -0.5 (18th)
  • True Shooting %: 57.3 (17th)
  • Pace: 103.03 (2nd)

Probable Starting Lineups

Phoenix

  • Bismack Biyombo (with Deandre Ayton out)
  • Torrey Craig
  • Mikal Bridges
  • Landry Shamet (?)
  • Chris Paul

Los Angeles

  • Thomas Bryant (with Anthony Davis out)
  • LeBron James
  • Austin Reaves
  • Lonnie Walker IV
  • Dennis Schroder

Injured/Out

Lakers: Anthony Davis (foot) and Wenyen Gabriel (shoulder) are OUT, Patrick Beverley (calf) is questionable.

Suns: Deandre Ayton (ankle) is QUESTIONABLE.

Devin Booker (groin), Jock Landale (concussion protocol), Cam Payne (foot), and Duane Washington Jr. (hip) are all OUT.

UPDATE:

Lakers Update

The Lakers are coming off a two-point win against the Wizards last night in Los Angeles led by 33 points from LeBron James. Given it will be a second of a back-to-back for LA, keep an eye on a potential minutes restriction (or rest day) for King James, who played 37 minutes last night.

The significant news coming out of Lakerland yesterday was the Anthony Davis injury. He was playing some of the best basketball of his career and the Lakers were seemingly starting to (slowly) turn a corner after a sluggish start.

The devastating blow may be insurmountable if the team can’t at least hover around .500 until he gets back. The ripple effect of how the Lakers handle the trade deadline with this new information will also be something to monitor.

While Los Angeles will be on the 2nd of a back-to-back, they will be facing a team that could be potentially shorthanded and in the first night of their back-to-back. From their point of view it could be a prime opportunity to “steal” a road win against a top team out West.

Outside of LeBron, the Suns will need to focus on slowing down Russell Westbrook in his (fairly) new bench role. Austin Reaves has been a steady contributor, and even Thomas Bryant has had a pair of back-to-back encouraging offensive outings.

Suns Update

Phoenix is still juggling a seemingly never-ending cycle of injuries to their rotation. Jock Landale listed as out due to concussion protocols puts even more significance on whether or not Deandre Ayton is able to suit up, as the big man depth is looking fairly thin.

If Booker and Ayton are both unable to go, it will become a massive challenge for this offense to get going, even against an average defensive LA team (especially considering Davis is out).

Chris Paul and Mikal Bridges will need to step up along with the depleted bench unit. If there was ever a time for a Landry Shamet game, this would be it.

Phoenix is 13-3 at home this season, and they have another home game tomorrow night against Kyle Kuzma (cough cough) and the Washington Wizards.

The trade deadline is also looming for Phoenix and it’s a matter of when, not if, the Suns will make a move (or two).

Prediction

This one hinges on whether or not at least one of Ayton or Booker plays, but I’ve got the Suns by 7.

118-111.

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