The Lakers start their seven game road trip in Phoenix. They played last night; traditionally back to back games can be disheartening. The Lakers have a greater burden. They have the bare minimum of healthy players if you count Pau who is not really healthy, he is dragging around on a sore foot. As if that wasn’t enough the Lakers record is dismal. They have played six games since January 1st. They have lost five of those games. They have lost 11 out of 12 games. They have given up 112 points in their losses. They have been outrebounded by 77. They have been outscored in the third quarter by 92 points. But as Nick Young said after the loss to the Cavaliers, “We still have to play with pride.”
The Phoenix Suns have lost 5 out of 7 games. The Suns are without Eric Bledsoe indefinitely because of a knee injury yet they are still in better shape to compete than the Lakers. The Lakers cannot stop teams from scoring. Someone always has a career high when the Lakers are the opposing team. For Phoenix it is Marcus Morris. When the Lakers played Phoenix in Staples Center Marcus shot 76% . The second time they played, at Phoenix, he shot 66%. He isn’t even the most dangerous Phoenix Sun, the ones the Lakers have to be conscious of. That is point guard Goran Dragic who gets to the lane and is quick to the rim. He averages 19 and 6.
Without Eric Bledsoe, the Suns start athletic guard Gerald Greene as the shooting guard. This is Gerald’s ninth year in the league and his best season. He has become a three point specialist, a catch and shoot player but he is quick enough to drive to the rim and finish with a fantastic dunk. The Morris twins are solid role players who rebound, post up and shoot mid range. The Suns play a fast, up tempo game that on the second night of a back to back will be difficult for the Lakers to defend especially in transition. If the Lakers miss from three as they have in this 11 out of 12 game losing skid- they are shooting a woeful 29%- the Suns will turn their long misses into fast break points. The same is true if they turn the ball over.
Pau Gasol had trouble running the floor late in the game against the Cavaliers. Less than twenty four hours later not much is expected from him defensively as he tries to play through his injury. The pressure will be on Sacre and Jordan Hill to run the floor and to box out. Wesley Johnson, Nick Young and Jodie Meeks had good games against the Cavaliers and they will need to be just as consistent against the Suns.
The Lakers are 3-5 on the second night of a back to back. They are 6-13 on the road. The Suns are 12-5 at home, a place Kendall Marshall is familiar with. The Suns drafted him and then gave up on him. With the Lakers he is averaging 10 points and 8 assists and has proven he belongs in the NBA. He has a lot to prove against the Suns but will it be enough for the Lakers to end their losing streak? Will they rebound and contest shots to give themselves a chance at a victory. If you believe in history then the answer to that question is no.
Tags: Los Angeles Lakers