Lakers Vs. Suns Preview: L.A. Faces Tough Test To Keep Win Streak Alive
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

A tough battle awaits the Los Angeles Lakers as they try to extend their winning streak to four games, taking on the Phoenix Suns away from home.

The Lakers are again without LeBron James for the fifth straight game, with Juan Toscano-Anderson and Max Christie also unavailable for the clash. Meanwhile, the Suns will miss Chris Paul, Landry Shamet, and Cam Johnson.

Los Angeles comes off its best game of the season — a dominant 123-92 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday — during which they shot the ball well and ultimately neutralized the visitors’ undermanned offense. The Suns will undoubtedly cause the Lakers more problems on Tuesday, even if they have been dealing with their issues over the last couple of weeks.

Currently, Australian betting sites have the Suns as -9.5 (-110) favorites. The Lakers are 4-1 ATS in their last five games following an ATS win, while the Suns are 7-1 ATS in their last eight home games. The bookmakers’ moneyline has Phoenix -480 and Los Angeles +360. The over/under total is 226.5.

Phoenix has gone 4-5 since early November without two critical pieces in Paul and Johnson. During that time, the Suns have scored about six points per game less (112.6). Still, they remain among the most efficient teams in the NBA, outscoring their opponents by 3.2 points per 100 possessions.

The Suns also own one of the best defenses in the league, one that both limits the number of scoring opportunities for their rivals and creates extra possessions for their offense. And the offense runs seamlessly after the franchise retained most of its roster, led by Devin Booker, averaging a career 27.6 points per game.

Among the Suns’ few weaknesses, centers Deandre Ayton and Jock Landale can be outmuscled in a more physical game and lose the battle on the glass. And although Phoenix doesn’t give up many open looks along the perimeter, its opponents knock down the 3-pointers they manage to attempt at the fourth-highest rate in the NBA.

The Lakers shooters must step up on Tuesday if Los Angeles wants to remain in the win column. Thomas Bryant has another opportunity to build on his exemplary performance in the first games following his return from thumb surgery, as helping Anthony Davis exert dominance in the paint should bring the Purple and Gold closer to another victory

Meanwhile, another big night might be in the cards for Davis, averaging 35 points, 17.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and 1.7 blocks over the last three games.

Phoenix Suns (10-6) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (5-10)

When: 7:00 p.m. PT, November 22, 2022
Where: Footprint Center, Phoenix, Arizona
TV: TNT
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA

Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:

PG: Patrick Beverley
SG: Lonnie Walker IV
SF: Austin Reaves
PF: Troy Brown Jr.
C: Anthony Davis

Key Reserves: Russell Westbrook, Kendrick Nunn, Thomas Bryant, Dennis Schroder, Wenyen Gabriel, Matt Ryan

Projected Suns Starting Lineup:

PG: Cam Payne
SG: Devin Booker
SF: Mikal Bridges
PF: Corey Craig
C: Deandre Ayton

Key Reserves: Damion Lee, Ish Wainright, Duane Washington Jr., Bismack Biyombo

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