The Phoenix Suns (4-4) will get their first crack at the most hated team in the NBA Western Conference, the Los Angeles Lakers (6-4). The Lakers aren't the same Lakers that won two NBA championships in the last three seasons. Gone is the versatile Lamar Odom who would kill the Suns off the bench. Gone is the Zen Master, Phil Jackson and his precision triangle offense.
But the Lakers are still a dangerous three-headed monster with Kobe Bryant, Pao Gasol and Andrew Bynum. Kobe is playing through a wrist injury but that hasn't slowed him one bit. KB24 is scoring 27.6 points per game and shooting the ball a LOT (23 FGA/gm). The one thing Kobe isn't doing well (yet) is shooting from three -- he's just 20 percent so far which is career-low which probably won't last.
The Suns will guard Kobe with Grant Hill who is regaining his defensive form after a September knee surgery.
Kobe's shooting aside, the Lakers are most dangerous upfront with the talent of Pau Gasol at power forward and the size and improved skill of Andrew Bynum. Bynum is averaging 15.7 rebounds per game and will out-reach and out-muscle Marcin Gortat.
The Lakers are vulnerable, however, if the Suns can keep the pace high and take advantage of the lack of depth on this version of the Purple and Gold.
Projected lineups and injury report:
- Point guard: Steve Nash -- Derek Fisher
- Shooting guard: Jared Dudley -- Kobe Bryant
- Small forward: Grant Hill --- Matt Barnes
- Power forward: Channing Frye -- Pau Gasol
- Center: Marcin Gortat -- Andrew Bynum
- Key Subs: Suns (Markieff Morris, Hakim Warrick, Robin Lopez, Shannon Brown, Ronnie Price). Lakers (Steve Blake, Troy Murphy, Metta World Peace)
- Injuries: Suns, None. Lakers, Josh McRoberts doubtful (thumb, foot)
TV Broadcast info:
The game tips at 8:30 p.m. Arizona time with TV at Fox Sports Arizona and radio at Arizona Sports 620. Bright Side of the Sun has the live online game thread who also has this game preview:
Phoenix Suns Vs. Los Angeles Lakers Game Preview - Bright Side Of The Sun
In addition, if you can't get jacked up with Laker rancor, Suns pride, and L.A. celebrity animosity, then you may as well avoid this one and call your grandma or sort your socks tonight.