The (2-8) Los Angeles Lakers are in the valley of the sun, Phoenix, Arizona, to battle the (5-4) Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. The Lakers, led by an all-around effort by Kobe Bryant, Jordan Clarkson and a defense that held the Detroit Pistons to 37-percent shooting from the field helped the purple and gold notch a 97-85 win of the season and first home win of the 2015-16 season. While in Phoenix, time permitting, the Lakers could view Camelback Mountain, for a challenging hike on Cholla trail, also a visit to see the preserved Victorian-style homes in Heritage Square. While there visit Pizzeria Bianco- that serves pizza that a New York Times Food Critic called the best pizza in the country or an excellent Mexican dinner at Barrio Café or dine at the El Chorro Lodge.
At first, the Los Angeles Lakers were finally able to close out a game offensively outscoring the Pistons 30-19 in the fourth quarter. It was great to witness Kobe Bryant, playing the role of facilitator, made the game easier for everyone; simultaneously providing D’Angelo Russell a blueprint of how to run to team late in the game, however, Russell would have to get into the game in the fourth quarter and trusted to handle that exact situation, for that to actually happen. There is no doubt that the big minutes, played by Kobe Bryant, which includes a season-high 36 minutes Sunday Night, are affecting his health. Kobe will not play in tonight’s game in Phoenix.
To begin with, the Suns, third place in the Pacific Division, are on a two game winning streak. The Suns are the 4th ranked offense in the NBA scoring 104.2 points per game. Phoenix also ranks 13th in the league, allowing 100.1 points per game. For example, the Suns have a high scoring backcourt that amassed 63 points and 13 assists against the Los Angeles Clippers and 40 points and four assists in a blowout win over the Denver Nuggets.
The Phoenix Suns are the NBA’s second ranked rebounding team, averaging 48.2 rebounds per game. Suns leading scorer, point guard Eric Bledsoe (23.2 points per game), the fifth year guard from the University of Kentucky, has overcome several injuries and is exceeding expectations this season by doubling his career scoring average. In the Phoenix wins Bledsoe has posted an impressive 26 points, 5.6 rebounds, six assists and 2.8 steals per game on 56-percent shooting, consequently in the losses a respectable 19.8 points, three rebounds, 6.5 assists, 1.3 steals on 42-percent shooting.
It is important for the Lakers trust the offense, use solid ball movement and good player movement to move the ball from side to side to make the defense work. The purple and gold need to play aggressive on both ends of the court, the guards must get into the painted area and attack the basket. The keys to victory for the Lakers: offensively, control the tempo of the game, limit their turnovers, use the pick-and-roll play to turn the corner and attack the painted area, provide Roy Hibbert, Julius Randle, Brandon Bass and Metta World Peace touches in the paint. Defensively, get back in transition, stop the ball, do a solid job defending the pick-and-roll play, box out their men, rebound, challenge every shot and immediately rotate out to open shooters.
Lakers: D. Russell, J. Clarkson, K. Bryant, J. Randle, R. Hibbert
Suns: B. Knight, E. Bledsoe, P. J.Tucker, M. Morris, T. Chandler
Tip-off: 6:00 PM PST
• Los Angeles: TWC Sportsnet (Bill MacDonald & Stu Lantz)
• Phoenix: Fox Sports Arizona (Steve Albert & Eddie Johnson)
• Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (John Ireland & Mychal Thompson)
• Phoenix : KTAR (Al McCoy & Tim Kempton)
• Kobe Bryant (Sore Back & Knee) Day-to-Day
• Ronnie Price (Concussion) Day-to-Day
• Markieff Morris (Sprained Left Knee) Day-to-Day