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In-Season Tournament: Lakers vs Suns

Photo/Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

The Lakers host the Phoenix Suns for an in-season tournament matchup, with the winner heading to Las Vegas. LA is 2-0 against Phoenix this season, however that has been in the absence of Devin Booker for the Suns, and he is set to play tonight. Bradley Beal is still out for Phoenix with a back problem. For the Lakers, everyone is likely to play outside of Gabe Vincent. This is the first time this season we’re able to see the Lakers at mostly full strength (especially defensively) with Jarred Vanderbilt returning and Cam Reddish’s emergence.

Mid Range Magic

Devin Booker and Kevin Durant are two of the league’s elite scorers, and both are deadly from the mid-range. The Laker defense will need to find away to keep Booker and Durant out of the mid range area without fouling them. Both are also elite free throw shooters, so LA’s wings will need to avoid getting into foul trouble.

D’Angelo Russell

D’Angleo Russell had an impressive outing Saturday night against the Rockets, especially on the defensive end. He had perhaps his best game on the defensive side of the ball since returning to LA, earning 5 steals and high praise from Anthony Davis after the game for his defensive performance.

On the season Russell is shooting 40% from behind the 3-point line, while shooting nearly 49% from the field. He’s also been an excellent playmaker to start the season, with an average of almost 7 assists per game. He has been the perfect fit at the point guard position, and is looking like a steal with his 2-year, 36 million dollar deal. If Russell can give more performances like Saturday night on the defensive end, LA will be set up very nicely come playoff time.

Can the Lakers beat Phoenix for the third straight time this season and move on to face the Pelicans in Vegas? Tip-off is at 10 pm ET.

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