In search of their first win the (0-4) Los Angeles Lakers face the (2-1) Phoenix Suns for the second time in seven days. Game one of the four games season series was in Phoenix, AZ on the second night of back-to-back games. In the Lakers four games this season the purple and gold have lost by an average of 17 points. The Lakers are one of four winless NBA teams (0-3 Magic, 0-3 Pistons & 0-4 76ers), the only team without a win in the Western Conference.
The Suns come into this game after suffering their first loss of the season, a 27-point loss to the Utah Jazz. The Lakers routed by 23-points, allowed a career-high 41-point effort to newly re-signed Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson. One of the key factors to the Lakers being competitive is improvement on defense. The Lakers team, pick and roll, transition defense to include extending their defense out to the three-point line has been atrocious and needs to drastically improve. In four games the Lakers have allowed 43.9-percent shooting from behind the arc.
Going into tonight’s game, in a 30-team league, the Lakers rank 30th in the NBA allowing 118-points per game, 27th in the NBA in rebounding (37.8), 20th in the NBA in assists (20.3). Granted it will take time for a newly created team to gel, the Lakers are a poor three-point shooting team averaging 31.1-percent from behind the arc. The Lakers are 22-7 (regular season) against the Suns all-time at the Staples Center . In the game against the Suns six days ago; the Lakers 20-point loss fueled by Phoenix shooting 55-percent from the field, 50-percent from behind the arc and a 39-point third quarter. In 61 career games against the Suns, (including 55 starts) Kobe Bryant has averaged 26.2 points.
The Lakers scoring has been Kobe Bryant and not much else. Kobe is displaying that despite his age he can still breakout several turn back the clock moves. Kobe is averaging 24.8 points a game. In order for the Lakers to secure their first win of the season the purple and gold will have to outwork the Suns. Offensively, the Lakers need to attack the basket and play with better ball movement, player movement, shot selection and everyone needs to play aggressive.
Tonight’s contest is the third time (including the pre-season) that the Lakers have matched up against Suns the Lakers defensive spacing needs to improve with the purple and gold defenders always within arms reach of their opponents.
Defensively, the Lakers need to play defense without fouling, communicate better, do a better job of defending the pick and roll play, get back in transition and extend their defense out to the three-point line. The Lakers need to focus on controlling the tempo, keeping Phoenix out of the painted area, out-rebounding the Suns and work at trapping the Suns guards to get the ball out of their hands.
Lakers: J. Lin, K.Bryant, W. Johnson, C. Boozer, J.Hill
Suns: G.Dragic, E. Bledsoe, M. Morris, M. Morris, M. Plumlee
Tip-off: 7:30 PM PST
• Los Angeles: TWC SN (Bill Macdonald & Stu Lantz)
• Phoenix: FS AZ (Gary Bender & Eddie Johnson)
• Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (John Ireland & Mychal Thompson)
• Phoenix: AZ Sports 98.7 FM (Al McCoy & Tim Kempton)
• Julius Randle (Tibia Fracture, Right Leg) Out
• Steve Nash (Root Nerve Damage) Out
• Nick Young (Torn Ligament, Right Thumb) Out
• Ryan Kelly (Sore Right Hamstring) Day-to-Day
• P.J. Harrison (Suspension) Out