The daily preview muscles into the paint with NBA tips for a clash between high-flying Phoenix Suns and a LA Lakers outfit beset by big injuries.
13:00 (AEDT), Mon 21st Mar @ Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix
History: Played 315: Lakers 183 V Suns 132
Last meeting: March 2, 2021: Suns 114 d Lakers 104 at Staples Center
Final Thoughts: Second spot in the Western Conference standings goes on the line as Phoenix Suns host the depleted LA Lakers.
The 27-13 Suns have been in great touch since late-January, winning 19 of their last 24 games. But they have been in a patchy win-loss pattern in five-games since the All-Star break.
Phoenix bounced back from a shock 123-119 home loss to Minnesota (in which Devin Booker dropped 35 points) with a 113-101 defeat of the Timberwolves the following day. Chris Paul (20 pts, 9 ast) starred in the win.
The 28-14 Lakers – in a rut without injured superstar Anthony Davis – turned a corner with four straight wins out of the All-Star break.
But with LeBron James playing only 10 minutes, the Lakers crashed 99-94 to the Hawks in their last outing. Montrezl Harrell (23 pts, 11 reb) stepped up with increased court time, but James’ indefinite absence with an ankle sprain is set to severely test the Lakers’ depth.
Suns shoot for two in a row against Lakers
After losing seven of the teams’ previous eight encounters, the Suns downed the Lakers 114-104 in Los Angeles three weeks ago.
Dario Saric had 21 points off the bench, while Mikal Bridges (19 pts, 7 reb, 5 ast) made a strong all-round contribution. LeBron (38 pts, 6 ast) played a lone hand in a disappointing offensive night for the Lakers.
The Suns are 14-8 at home this season, overall and ATS. The Lakers are 14-5 on the road (10-13 ATS).
The likes of Harrell, Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Dennis Schroder are still capable of guiding the Lakers to wins while LeBron and AD are sidelined. But Phoenix will smell blood in the water here as they look to consolidate their place at the pointy end of the Western Conference ladder.
OTHER NBA GAMES
|Miami Heat V Indiana Pacers||Handicap – Heat -4.5 @ $1.90|
|Houston Rockets V Oklahoma City Thunder||Result – Rockets|
|Denver Nuggets V New Orleans Pelicans||Margin – Nuggets 11-20|
|Boston Celtics V Orlando Magic||Handicap – Magic +8.5 @ $1.90|
|Detroit Pistons V Chicago Bulls||Handicap – Bulls -3.5 @ $1.95|
|Brooklyn Nets V Washington Wizards||Handicap – Nets -8 @ $1.87|
|Cleveland Cavaliers V Toronto Raptors||Total – Under 217 @ $1.90|
|New York Knicks V Philadelphia 76ers||Margin – 76ers 1-10|
|Portland Trail Blazers V Dallas Mavericks||Result – Mavericks @ $1.80|