Lakers Vs. Suns Preview: Fifth & Final Meeting Against Pacific Division Opponent
LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Lakers, Suns
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Coming of a win over the San Antonio Spurs, the Los Angeles Lakers go back on the road, taking on the Phoenix Suns for the fifth and final time this regular season.

Division opponents typically face each other four times per season, but due to the In-Season Tournament, these two teams are already playing each other for the fifth time. The Lakers and Suns were in the same group and then met again in the quarterfinals, which accounted for the fifth game.

The Lakers got the better of the Suns in their first three meetings, although at least one of the Suns stars was out in all three of them. Phoenix had its Big 3 of Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal together against the Lakers in the fourth matchup in January, however, and the result was a blowout win for Frank Vogel’s team at Arena.

With the Suns one spot above the Lakers in the standings going into the home stretch of the regular season, this is a very important game for both teams.

As has been the case all year though, both are without key players. Beal has been dealing with hamstring tightness and remains out while the Lakers are still without Cam Reddish, Jarred Vanderbilt, Gabe Vincent and Christian Wood.

L.A. does have its two stars in LeBron James and Anthony Davis in the lineup despite their questionable tags, which is obviously great news for Darvin Ham’s team. In order to get a win over Durant and Booker, the Lakers need both James and Davis to play at a high level, as they did on Friday against the Suns.

Other guys on the Lakers need to step up as well, and that starts with the starting backcourt of D’Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves. Russell, in particular, has the ability to put a ton of pressure on Phoenix’s defense if he can keep up his hot 3-point shooting.

Rui Hachimura is another key piece for L.A. as the forward has been playing aggressively in recent weeks. Since Hachimura was inserted into the starting lineup, the group with him, Russell, Reaves, James and Davis has not lost, looking to improve to 6-0 as a unit with a win over the Suns.

Los Angeles Lakers (31-27) vs. Phoenix Suns (33-24)

12:30 p.m. PT, February 25, 2024
Footprint Center, Phoenix AZ
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA

Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:

PG: D’Angelo Russell
SG: Austin Reaves
SF: Rui Hachimura
PF: LeBron James
C: Anthony Davis

Key Reserves: Taurean Prince, Spencer Dinwiddie, Jaxson Hayes, Max Christie

Projected Suns Starting Lineup:

PG: Devin Booker
SG: Grayson Allen
SF: Royce O’Neale
PF: Kevin Durant
C: Jusuf Nurkic

Key Reserves: Josh Okogie, Drew Eubanks, Thaddeus Young, Bol Bol

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