The Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns meet for the first time in the new season on Wednesday night. Both teams have seen a big transition in their lineups since the last time they met up. Los Angeles spent the offseason looking to make it back to the playoffs, while the Suns try to finish off the rebuild.
Los Angeles finished last season with a 35-47 record, which put them eleventh in the Western Conference. The Lakers brought in Lebron James and a solid supporting cast with the hopes of making it back to the playoffs. Los Angeles has had an extremely disappointing start to this season going 0-3 right out of the gate. The Lakers came really close to their first win in their last game against the Spurs but lost in overtime by a single point.
Phoenix finished last season with the worst record in the NBA. The Suns went 21-61. Phoenix added plenty of prospects and some veteran guys to help lead the team. The Suns are likely to go through some rough patches as their core develops, but I believe their future is looking up. Phoenix won their first game this season but has dropped their last two games.
Last Season’s Matchups
Phoenix and Los Angeles met up four times last season. The Suns hosted the first game of the season and it was a close one. Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker and T.J. Warren combined for 77 points, but it was not enough for the Suns. Lonzo Ball dropped 29 points as the Lakers won 132-130.
The second game of the season between these two teams stayed in Phoenix. Devin Booker had another great game for the Suns as he scored 36. Just like the first game though, it was not enough. Jordan Clarkson scored 25 off the bench as Los Angeles won 100-93.
The third game of the season shifted to Los Angeles. Kyle Kuzma scored 30 points and had 10 rebounds for the Lakers. Booker had another great game and this time it was not in vain. Booker scored 33 points as the Suns rolled to a 122-113 win.
Los Angeles once again hosted the last game of the season between these two teams. Phoenix was without Devin Booker, which allowed the Lakers to run away with it. Brandon Ingram and Julius Randle each scored over 20 points as the Lakers pulled off the first home win of the series by a score of 112-93.
Both teams have changed quite significantly since the last time they met, but a lot of the stars are the same. The Lakers will need to find an answer for Devin Booker if they want their first win of the season. If Booker can go off like he did last season, I expect this to be a real close game.
Suns Offense vs Lakers Defense
The Suns have struggled to put up consistent numbers against teams to begin the season. Devin Booker has been averaging 29 points per game and almost 7 assists. T.J. Warren has averaged 20 points per game to begin the season, but after that there is not much help carrying the load offensively. Phoenix has averaged 105 points per game to begin the season, which is bottom five in the NBA.
Los Angeles’ defense has been terrible to begin this season. The Lakers are allowing teams to put up almost 132 points per game on them. This number is a little bit skewed because of their overtime game against the Spurs, but Los Angeles was allowing big numbers in their first two games as well. The Lakers are allowing teams to shoot 47 percent from the field, which is not terrible. Los Angeles has also lost the battle on the boards early in the season, which allows teams to get more quality chances then them.
Phoenix’s offense is less likely to get going then the Lakers defense in my opinion. Los Angeles has some solid pieces defensively and have had to face teams like Portland, Houston and San Antonio who all have good offenses. The Lakers will need to take advantage the Sun’s struggling offense and jump out to an early lead.
The Lakers are still looking for their first win and I believe Wednesday night is a prime time to get it. Los Angeles will need their defense to step up, but against a weaker Sun’s offense, I believe the Lakers can get it going.
It is important to note that Los Angeles will be without Rajon Rondo and Brandon Ingram as they are both out serving suspensions. That means that Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma will both be put in the starting lineup. Both young players are more than capable of starting, but it hurts the depth on the Lakers roster a bit. I still believe that this lineup has the leg up on the Suns
BetOnline has the Lakers listed at a spread of -4 ½. That is a pretty big for a road team that has yet to win a game. The Suns have been getting blown out recently and I believe that this trend could continue on Wednesday night. The Lakers are bound to break out and get their first win at some point and I believe it will happen against Phoenix.