New year. Hopefully same Lakers.
The Los Angeles Lakers will host the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night in their first game of the new year and decade. The Lakers are coming off back-to-back wins against the Blazers and Mavericks after dropping four straight and will be hoping to keep a winning streak going.
The game against the Suns will be the second in a five-game home stand and the first in a slate of fairly easy matches. They will follow it by hosting the Pelicans, Pistons and Knicks.
The Suns have crashed back down to earth after a surprisingly great start to the year. Some of that has been due to injuries to key players like Devin Booker, Ricky Rubio and Aron Baynes. The team is healthier now and now they have last year’s number one overall pick DeAndre Ayton back after a 25-game suspension.
Ayton is coming off the bench for now with Baynes getting the starting nod for the spacing he provides. In fact, both Baynes and Dario Saric, the Suns’ two frontcourt starters, can pop out behind the line to shoot 3-pointers. The Lakers big men, namely Anthony Davis and JaVale McGee, will have to be focused in order to contest those attempts.
Of course, the Suns always go as Booker goes and throwing various defenders like Danny Green, Avery Bradley, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Alex Caruso at him in order to make him an inefficient scorer will be the biggest key to securing a win.
Offensively, the Lakers should be able to have their way. The Suns have good backcourt defenders like Rubio and Jevon Carter who can give the Lakers ball-handlers some issues. But they do not have any good matchups for LeBron James or Anthony Davis so the team’s stars should be able to create great looks for themselves and their teammates. James has not shot well of late, partially due to a nagging groin issue, but in the last two games, the superstar has recorded 29 assists and just three turnovers.
The Lakers will host the Suns at 7:30 PM. Happy New Year!