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Safe to say, the opening nights for the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers could have gone better than expected.
The Lakers were completely outclassed by the Clippers while their Arizona-based rivals had the worst debut of any team in NBA history, losing to the C.J. McCollum-less Blazers by 48 points. This will be a matchup will be between the two worst teams in the western conference from last season who unfortunately may be in the same positions after next season.
Both teams put in less than inspiring performances in their season debuts, with the Suns as a whole, shooting 32 percent from the field, while the Lakers shot 40 percent, a percentage inflated by garbage time buckets. It’s just been one game but if the first one was any indication, the Suns’ defense looked terrible and it could be a perfect time for the Lakers to take advantage of it to kickstart their season.
Luke Walton preached about energy a lot last season and here’s hoping the Lakers come out with more energy than they showed against the Clippers. Walton once again reiterated energy as he blamed poor shooting for the lack of any energy, per Tania Ganguli.
THINGS TO WATCH FOR
- Bounce Back (I was going to repost the lyrics from Big Sean and his godawful song but I did not and I am a better person for it): Lonzo had a less-than-stellar start to his NBA career as he finished with one made shot against Patrick Beverly. The Suns do not have someone that can hound Ball as much as Beverly, so hopefully we can see him have a nice game whether it be against Bledsoe or Devin Booker (who is just SOOOOOOO good on defense). I’m also hoping that Brandon Ingram has a better shooting performance than he did against the Clippers as he settled for midrange jumpers and missed most of them.
- Lottery Meetup: The Lakers will get a glimpse of Josh Jackson, who worked out for the team prior to the 2017 NBA Draft. There’s been a ton of speculation on whether or not the Lakers know how to draft in the lottery (unfortunately one of the times they picked correctly, they traded him to the Nets), and this will be their first look at a player they passed up on for Lonzo.
- Luke’s Lineups: Once again, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will miss a game due to suspension. Given what happened in the first game, the Lakers could use a change in the lineup. Luol Deng was not good at all at the three spot, nor was Ingram at the two. Here’s hoping that Luke’s rigidity when it comes to picking his starting unit will not do too much to negatively affect the team. There was a dreadful lack of scoring from that starting lineup against the Clippers, maybe Jordan Clarkson can bring something as a starting shooting guard?
- Julius Randle: Day-to-Day
- Josh Hart: Day-to-Day
- Davon Reed: Out
- Jared Dudley: Out
- Alex Len: Alex Len
WHERE TO WATCH
Lakers vs. Suns
Friday October 20, 7:00PM (PST), Spectrum Sportsnet