The daily preview muscles into the paint with NBA tips as LA Lakers and Phoenix Suns push their agenda in the make-up of the Western Conference playoffs. 

NBA Tips – Los Angeles Lakers V Phoenix Suns

12:00 (AEST), Sun 9th May @ Staples Center, Los Angeles

History: Played 316: Lakers 183 V Suns 133

Last meeting: March 21, 2021: Suns 111 d Lakers 94 at Phoenix Suns Arena

Final Thoughts: Undermanned LA Lakers are in a dogfight to avoid the Western Conference’s play-in tournament. Phoenix Suns are still striving for the West’s top seed. There’s plenty on the line when these potential first-round opponents square at Staples Center.

The Lakers – still without LeBron James – have lost eight of their last 10. They crashed to a 24-point loss to the Clippers and a 106-101 defeat in a crunch game the following against the Trail Blazers, who leapfrogged the Lakers into the all-important sixth spot.

Anthony Davis (36 pts, 12 reb, 5 ast) had a mighty game in Portland. But the Lakers are treading water until James is back and somewhere near full capacity. Dennis Schroder has also been a key out.

The 48-19 Suns are a win behind the conference-leading Jazz. After a glaring 32-point loss to the Hawks ended a five-game tear, the Suns bounced back with a comprehensive 128-105 victory over the in-form Knicks.

DeAndre Ayton was outstanding with 26 points and 15 rebounds. Chris Paul (17 pts, 11 ast) wasn’t far behind, while surprise inclusion Jae Crowder returned from injury with 18 points off the bench.

The Lakers have won nine of their last 13 against the Suns. But Phoenix have won both encounters so far this season.

Four Suns scored 15-plus points in a 114-104 win at Staples Center as LeBron (38 pts, 6 ast) carried the can with Davis absent in early-March. Neither of the Lakers’ superstars were on deck for a 111-94 loss in Phoenix two weeks later. Devin Booker (26 pts, 9 reb) and Ayton (26 pts, 8 reb) starred, while Paul had a triple-double.

LA Lakers are 18-13 at home, but just 13-18 against the line. Phoenix are 22-10 on the road (18-13-1 ATS).

The loss to the Hawks appears to be a mere blip on the CP3-inspired Suns’ recent hot streak. Davis’ powerhouse effort against the Blazers was encouraging but it’s hard to see the Lakers getting up here.

Tip: Handicap – Suns -6 @ $1.90

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