Coming off a disappointing loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, Brandon Ingram and the Los Angeles Lakers must remained focused as they hit the road to face the tanking Phoenix Suns.
The Lakers and Suns have already met three times this season, with L.A. easily winning each of the matchups. Thus, a win Saturday night will give them a sweep of the season series.
The Lakers are on the second night of a back-to-back for the 10th time this season. They are 6-3 in their first nine.
Ingram is playing some of the best basketball of his career over the past couple months, but in the five games since the All-Star Break, he’s been on another level. He’s shown absolute star potential, averaging 28.4 points and 7.6 rebounds. LeBron James has been playing excellent basketball too, looking more like his original self than he was before the break.
The injury report looks the same as Friday night’s game against the Bucks, with Lonzo Ball still out and Lance Stephenson questionable due to sprained toe.
Against the Suns, stopping the young tandem of Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton is really the only major task. The two score a combined 41.0 points per game, with Ayton adding 10.4 rebounds and Booker a career-high 6.8 assists. Booker is considered probable despite dealing with a toe injury.
The Suns are also on the second night of a back-to-back, suffering a 130-116 loss on Friday to the New Orleans Pelicans. Phoenix holds the worst record in the NBA at 12-51, and are the only team that already has been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.
The Suns have the third-worst offensive rating and the second-worst defensive rating in the league, meaning the Lakers must take advantage and simply cannot get complacent. Losses against inferior opponents have plagued the Lakers this season, and they are a part of the reason why they remain out of the playoff picture.
With 20 games remaining, the Lakers sit three games back in the loss column of the eight-seeded San Antonio Spurs and L.A. Clippers, who are seventh.
The playoffs, while far away, are still within reach. However, the Lakers must do heavy damage in their final 20 games if they want to continue playing in mid-April. Ingram, James and Kyle Kuzma are likely going to play their best, as they all have been, but it’s up to the supporting cast to make this team function the way its supposed to and get the win.
Los Angeles Lakers (30-32) vs. Phoenix Suns (12-51)
6:00 P.M. PT, Mar. 2, 2019
Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix, Arizona
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM (ESPN)/1330 KWKW (Spanish)
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: Rajon Rondo
SG: Brandon Ingram
SF: Reggie Bullock
PF: LeBron James
C: Kyle Kuzma
Key Reserves: Josh Hart, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, JaVale McGee, Lance Stephenson
Projected Suns Starting Lineup:
PG: Tyler Johnson
SG: Devin Booker
SF: Kelly Oubre Jr.
PF: Richaun Holmes
C: Deandre Ayton
Key Reserves: Dragan Bender, Josh Jackson, Mikal Bridges, Troy Daniels
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