Lakers vs. Suns Game Preview: Lakers Look to Defeat Surprise Suns

Kobe Bryant ReturnsPrior to the NBA season, talks of  “tanking” revolved around several teams. The two main culprits, according to experts, were the Philadelphia 76ers and tonight’s Laker opponent, the Phoenix Suns. The Suns officially started the rebuilding process by dealing Steve Nash to the Lakers before last season. They struggled, as expected, last season on their way to a 25-57 mark. Prior to this season, they rid themselves of solid veterans such as Jared Dudley, Marcin Gortat, and Luis Scola in order to give more time to young prospects. The Suns have been more competitive than anyone thought under first year head coach Jeff Hornacek, and they currently sit one game above the Lakers in the standings at 11-9. The Lakers come in off of Sunday night’s let down in Kobe Bryant’s return against the Toronto Raptors. The reality of Bryant being back is in full effect, and all members of the roster have to be ready to step into different roles.

Frontcourt: Second year player Miles Plumlee mans the center position for the Suns while coming off a rookie season in which he only appeared in 14 games for the Indiana Pacers. Plumlee has been a solid addition and a true rim protector for the Suns, averaging two blocks per game. He is averaging close to a double-double with averages of 9.8 points per game and 8.5 rebounds a night. Pau Gasol must be aggressive early and look to get the inexperienced Plumlee into foul trouble.

Channing Frye, who missed the entire 2012-2013 season with an enlarged heart, starts at power forward for the Suns. In what has been an outstanding comeback,  Frye has remained a deadly outside shooting big man (39% from three on 4.5 attempts a game) who thrives off the penetration ability of the Suns’ starting backcourt. The Laker big men cannot afford to fall asleep on Frye, as he is capable of burning them from deep. Marcus Morris, the twin brother of fellow Suns’ big man Markieff Morris, is another stretch-four type (41% from three) that the Lakers must pay careful attention to.

Backcourt: The success of the Suns so far starts with the excellent play of their starting backcourt. They start two point guards in Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic, and the combination has worked wonders for them thus far. They have been able to feed off each other’s penetration while being able to stretch the floor enough in order to keep defenses honest. Bledsoe and Dragic put up nearly identical numbers and are the top two scorers on the team. Bledsoe averages 18.6 points and 6 assists per game, while Dragic averages 17.7 points and 6.4 assists a night. Interestingly enough, both average exactly 13 shot attempts per game.

Bledsoe, who served as Chris Paul’s backup the past two seasons with the Clippers, has broken out in a starting role. Bledsoe is one of the more athletic point guards in the league, and is able to defend shooting guards because of this athleticism even with his lack of height (generously listed at 6’1). Bledsoe has made huge strides in his jump shot from last season, although the focus of the Lakers’ defense should still be on keeping him out of the lane and making him hit from the outside. Bledsoe has a very bright future ahead of him.

Goran Dragic started his career as Steve Nash’s backup in Phoenix. He has evolved into a solid starter in the league, and he is one of the craftiest players in the game with the ball in his hands. He excels at getting to the rim and finishing in traffic or finding his teammates. He is a high IQ player who is also capable of getting it going from the outside. Dragic, like Bledsoe, should be baited into hitting from three (only 31% on the season).

Keys to Lakers Victory: 
Rediscovering Chemistry on Offense: Sunday night’s game against the Raptors showed just how difficult it will be to integrate Kobe back into the Lakers’ offense. The team was gelling offensively with quick ball movement and drive-and-kick action to shooters who were shooting the ball with great confidence. Kobe is not comfortable with this style of play, indicated by his eight turnovers on Sunday. Look for the Lakers to perhaps involve Kobe in more pick and roll to have him make decisions quickly and get the ball moving quickly from side to side.

Contain Penetration: Containing the penetration of Bledsoe and Dragic is the most crucial component to a Laker victory tonight. These two are the key to everything the Suns do offensively, as their penetration not only creates opportunities for themselves, but also for shooters such as Frye and Morris and easy layup and dunk opportunities for Plumlee. It will be interesting to see how the Laker coaching staff elects to defend the pick-and-roll whenever these two are involved.

Pau Gasol: Nick Young has officially become the Lakers’ leading scorer. This shows just how much the Lakers’ starting lineup has struggled, and Pau must shoulder lots of the blame. Ankle sprain or not, Gasol has to play better. He has struggled mightily with his midrange jumper thus far this year, and has to find a way to get attempts closer to the rim. Against the young and relatively inexperienced Plumlee, Gasol needs to be aggressive and stop settling for 15-17 footers.

Phoenix Suns (11-9) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (10-10)
7:30 PM PST, December 10, 2013
Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
TV: TWC SportsNet
Radio: ESPN
Radio 710 ESPNLA

Suns Projected Starting Line-up
PG: Eric Bledsoe
SG: Goran Dragic
SF: P.J. Tucker
PF: Channing Frye
C: Miles Plumlee

Key Reserves: PF Marcus Morris, F Markieff Morris, Gerald Green

VIDEO: Kobe Bryant Speaks Out The Day After His First Game Back, He’s Reevaluated His Performance

I simply want to tell you that I am just all new to blogging and site-building and actually liked this blog. Probably I’m likely to bookmark your blog post . You absolutely come with awesome stories. Cheers for sharing your blog.

  • When I originally commented I clicked the -Inform me when brand-new remarks are included- checkbox as well as currently each time a remark is included I obtain 4 e-mails with the same comment. Is there any way you can eliminate me from that service? Many thanks!

  • I?m amazed, I should state. Truly seldom do I encounter a blog that?s both instructional and entertaining, and also let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. Your idea is exceptional; the concern is something that not nearly enough individuals are speaking smartly around. I am really delighted that I came across this in my search for something associating with this.

  • I?d have to get in touch with you right here. Which is not something I normally do! I appreciate reviewing an article that will certainly make individuals assume. Also, many thanks for permitting me to comment!

  • There are some fascinating times in this article however I don?t understand if I see every one of them facility to heart. There is some credibility yet I will certainly take hold point of view up until I consider it even more. Great article, many thanks and also we desire much more! Contributed to FeedBurner also

  • Aw, this was an actually wonderful message. In idea I would like to put in creating such as this furthermore? taking time and also actual initiative to make a great article? however what can I say? I put things off alot and also by no means appear to obtain something done.

  • Hello there! I just wish to give a substantial thumbs up for the fantastic info you have below on this article. I will certainly be returning to your blog site for more soon.

  • Youre so trendy! I don’t suppose Ive read anything similar to this prior to. So nice to locate someone with some original thoughts on this subject. realy thanks for beginning this up. this internet site is something that is needed online, a person with a little originality. useful job for bringing something new to the internet!

  • This is the ideal blog site for any person that wishes to learn about this topic. You recognize a lot its practically difficult to argue with you (not that I actually would want?HaHa). You definitely put a brand-new spin on a subject thats been written about for many years. Great stuff, just wonderful!

  • Hi! I just would like to give a big thumbs up for the fantastic info you have here on this message. I will certainly be returning to your blog site for more soon.

  • Area on with this article, I truly think this web site requires much more factor to consider. I?ll most likely be once more to check out far more, thanks for that information.

  • An interesting discussion deserves comment. I assume that you ought to compose a lot more on this topic, it could not be a frowned on subject however typically individuals are not enough to speak on such topics. To the next. Cheers

  • Youre so amazing! I don’t expect Ive read anything like this before. So nice to find someone with some original thoughts on this subject. realy thank you for beginning this up. this web site is something that is needed online, somebody with a little creativity. helpful work for bringing something new to the net!

  • Nice article. I learn something more difficult on various blog sites daily. It will always be boosting to read content from various other authors as well as exercise a little something from their store. I?d like to utilize some with the web content on my blog whether you don?t mind. Natually I?ll provide you a web link on your web blog site. Many thanks for sharing.

  • Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this write-up plus the rest of the site is extremely good.

  • The following time I check out a blog site, I really hope that it does not disappoint me as long as this one. I suggest, I recognize it was my choice to read, but I actually assumed youd have something fascinating to say. All I hear is a lot of grumbling about something that you might fix if you werent also busy trying to find focus.

  • An interesting discussion deserves comment. I think that you need to write much more on this subject, it could not be a frowned on subject yet usually people are not enough to speak on such topics. To the following. Thanks

  • I really love your site.. Pleasant colors & theme. Did you make this web site yourself? Please reply back as I’m planning to create my own blog and would like to learn where you got this from or just what the theme is named. Thank you!

  • This is the ideal blog site for anyone that wants to learn about this subject. You recognize a lot its practically tough to suggest with you (not that I actually would want?HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a topic thats been written about for years. Excellent stuff, just wonderful!

  • I found your blog site on google as well as examine a few of your very early blog posts. Continue to keep up the very good operate. I simply extra up your RSS feed to my MSN Information Visitor. Seeking onward to finding out more from you later!?

  • Hey there! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any trouble with hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing months of hard work due to no data backup. Do you have any methods to stop hackers?

  • Please let me know if you’re looking for a article author for your site. You have some really great posts and I believe I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d really like to write some material for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please blast me an e-mail if interested. Cheers!

  • I love what you guys are up too. This kind of clever work and reporting! Keep up the fantastic works guys I’ve you guys to my own blogroll.

  • An interesting discussion deserves remark. I assume that you should write a lot more on this topic, it might not be a forbidden subject yet generally people are not nearly enough to talk on such topics. To the next. Cheers

  • There are some interesting points in this post yet I don?t understand if I see all of them facility to heart. There is some credibility however I will certainly take hold point of view till I check out it further. Great short article, many thanks as well as we want extra! Contributed to FeedBurner too

  • Aw, this was a really great message. In idea I would like to put in creating like this additionally? requiring time and also actual initiative to make an excellent post? yet what can I state? I postpone alot as well as by no means seem to obtain something done.

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published.