The Los Angeles Lakers, who have won 11 of their last 15 games, take on the Phoenix Suns, who have won four games this season, on Sunday afternoon at the Staples Center. The Lakers look to continue their recent success against a conference rival that has struggled in recent years and once again finds themselves at the bottom of the barrel. Here are three things to look for during Sunday’s game.
This will be the first time that Chandler has played against his former team since the two sides negotiated a buyout on November 4th. Since then, Chandler has been a crucial piece of the Lakers success and a worthy midseason acquisition. His rebounding and defense have been key for the Lakers, who were third in defensive rating in the month of November, giving up 103.5 points per 100 possessions, but his screen assists also helped the Lakers get open looks on offense that they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to get. Honi took a look at Chandler’s contribution following his debut game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, and much of the analysis from that remains the same today. However, not only is Chandler contributing on the court, his role as a stable veteran presence cannot be understated. He clearly enjoys playing in Los Angeles, which is where he grew up, and his value to the younger members of the team is immeasurable.
The Suns… are not good
The Phoenix Suns are somehow not the worst team in the league, but they are a very bad team. Their opponents outscore them by 10.1 points per game, T.J. Warren is their second leading points scorer, and Trevor Ariza has been a total non-factor for them. The Lakers should easily win this game, but don’t completely discredit the Suns just yet. Two of their four wins came by 20 or more points, including the season opener against the Dallas Mavericks in which they won 121-100. Seven of their games have been decided by 10 points or less, in which they went 2-5. But then there is the rest of the games and… if there are any Suns fans reading this preview I’ll save them the embarrassment. It’s bad. They are bad.
KCP went 8-10 from the charity stripe in Friday’s win against Dallas. That brought his free-throw percentage down. Yes, you read that correctly. KCP is shooting 91.5% or 43-47 for the season. If Sunday afternoon ends up being a close game, the Lakers need to just throw the ball to KCP and get him to the line. Free points are the best points.