Following their second victory of the season, the Los Angeles Lakers will take a short trip to Arizona to face the Phoenix Suns. This has not been the start of the season that Los Angeles was looking for, but after their victory against the Pistons, the Lakers are hopeful to string a few wins together.
Kobe Bryant will not play tonight after logging a team-high 37 minutes in the win over the Detroit Pistons last night. Head coach Byron Scott felt it was the right decision to let Kobe rest after his near triple-double; finishing with 17 points, eight rebounds, and nine assists.
The Lakers will look to build off of their first home win of the season and will look for their third win of the young season.
Making headlines for the Phoenix Suns this offseason was Markieff Morris, who vocalized his discontent when his twin brother was traded to the Pistons. Markieff is the more talented of the twins, but he has been unhappy in Phoenix since his brother was traded, and he even demanded that the Suns trade him away as well. Morris is an all-around player who can score from anywhere on the court and the Lakers need to keep an eye on him.
Also clogging up the paint for the Suns is Tyson Chandler. Chandler has established himself as a defensive big man in the league throughout his career. He does not have many tools offensively, but he can change the game with his offensive rebounding ability. The Lakers struggle keeping teams off of the offensive glass, so they need to make sure they put a body on Chandler and box him out.
After the Suns traded away Goran Dragic to the Miami Heat prior to the 2015 trade deadline, Eric Bledsoe is the premiere guard of the team. Bledsoe has all the capabilities of being an All-Star caliber player, but has yet to be in a situation where he was the main guy. This year is his first opportunity to prove that he is capable of just that, and he will be a tough assignment for Jordan Clarkson.
Accompanying Bledsoe in the backcourt is Brandon Knight. Knight is an uber-quick point guard who can carve through defenses off of the pick-and-roll. The young point guard had an incredible scoring night on Nov. 12 against the Clippers, where he scored 37 points in the loss. The Lakers need to communicate defensively and limit his penetration.
Keys to Victory:
Defensive Rebounding: The Lakers did a great job keeping Andre Drummond off of the offensive glass, only allowing him to grab four offensive rebounds. Considering Drummond is averaging 19 boards per game, this was an accomplishment. The Lakers bigs made a good effort to put a body on him and making things difficult for him. If the Lakers make a similar effort against Tyson Chandler, they will put themselves in a good position to win.
Take Care of the Ball: Although the Lakers won last night, they turned the ball over 16 times. Luckily, the Pistons did not capitalize, but the Lakers cannot turn the ball over that many time against the Suns, who like to push the pace offensively. Limiting turnovers should be the Lakers game plan every game since they have struggled taking care of the ball this season. If the Lakers can limit their turnovers, they will prevent the Suns from scoring easy points in transition.
Get Back on Defense: Bledsoe and Knight will look to push the pace whenever the opportunity prevents itself. Morris is great at running the floor as well, so all five Lakers need to focus on transition defense tonight in Phoenix. The Suns will also be more aggressive on the break since the Lakers will have tired legs on the second night of a back-to-back.
Los Angeles Lakers (2-8) vs. Phoenix Suns (5-4)
6:00 PM PST, November 16, 2015
Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix, Arizona
TV: TWC SportsNet
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 (Spanish)
Lakers Projected Starting Lineup:
PG: D’Angelo Russell
SG: Jordan Clarkson
SF: Metta World Peace
PF: Julius Randle
C: Roy Hibbert
Key Reserves: SG: Lou Williams, SF: Nick Young, PF: Larry Nance Jr.
Suns Projected Starting Lineup:
PG: Brandon Knight
SG: Eric Bledsoe
SF: P.J. Tucker
PF: Markieff Morris
C: Tyson Chandler
Key Reserves: C: Alex Len, PG: Ronnie Price, SG: Devin Booker