It’s game day, and the Los Angeles Lakers will take on the Phoenix Suns tonight in another vital game for the Lakers. They’re coming off a loss to their LA rivals the Clippers and now are on the outside looking in when it comes to avoiding the play-in. The Lakers play-in status is still up in the air, and they could fall all the way to ninth by the time the season is over. They are up against a hugely talented Suns team that acquired Kevin Durant at the trade deadline, and Phoenix is 8-0 when he is the lineup.
Mo Bamba is no longer on the injury report with his ankle injury. D’Angelo Russell is probable with foot soreness, while Lebron James and Anthony Davis are both questionable. Phoenix is resting their starters after locking up the 4-seed last night; De’andre Ayton , Kevin Durant , Chris Paul and Devin Booker are all out.
Energy Energy Energy
The Lakers came out quite flat against the Clippers, but most of that was to due to the fact that they had just come off an overtime win only 24 hours before in Utah. Tonight there isn’t an excuse. It’s another must win, they are back home, and they have had a day off to reset and rest. LA needs to come out with intensity and build up a solid lead early. We saw what happened against a gritty Utah team that stuck around, wore the Lakers down, and forced an overtime. Luckily the Lakers won the game, but this game can’t be the same.
No New Stars
Due the Phoenix resting their starts tonight the bench guys for the Suns will get a ton of run. That means a late chance to establish themselves in the playoff rotation for Monty Williams’ team. Durant or Booker not playing doesn’t mean the Lakers can treat this game lightly. It’s the NBA at the end of the day if they don’t take this game seriously they will lose. Phoenix isn’t tanking, they are resting their stars. Some of these guys are out to prove that they belong in this league, and what better way to do that than to upstage Lebron James in Crypto.Com Arena, in a must win game for the Lakers?
Double Team Adjustments
Anthony Davis has been dominant this year, but a problem the Lakers have faced is that, when teams throw a double-team at Davis, their offense comes to a standstill. In the playoffs teams will employ that tactic to slow down Davis in the half-court. Darvin Ham and his staff have to find a way to adjust quickly to when teams do this. The Lakers need to find better ways to prevent teams from taking Davis out of the game for any amount of time.
Tip off is at 10:30 ET. Another significant game to look out for tonight is the Grizzlies-Bucks game, as a Bucks win will keep the Kings’ hopes for the 2-seed alive, which could result in them playing their starters in their matchup with the Warriors. That could have significant ramifications for the Lakers’ chances of avoiding the play-in.
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