L.A. Lakers (24-5 13-16 ATS) vs. Phoenix Suns (19-12 16-14-1 ATS) US Airways Center, Phoenix, AZ 9 PM EST Monday December 27, 2009
by Jason Green at Predictem.com
Point Spread: Pick-em
Tonight in the Valley of the Sun the Phoenix Suns face the L.A. Lakers. The Lakers are coming off a win and are still in 1st place in the Pacific Division, but they are not playing their best basketball. On Christmas the Lakers were schooled by the Cleveland Cavaliers and the next night they needed 2 OT’s to beat the Sacramento Kings.
The Suns are also not playing the best hoops, as they are coming off a loss and are only 4-6 in their last 10 games. Phoenix is only 5-9 in December and their defense is killing them, or their lack of playing any. The Lakers have won 2 in a row over the Suns, who are their only real threat in the Pacific Division. Currently the Lakers lead the Suns by 6 games in the division. Ron Artest may miss his 2nd straight game after taking a spill on his stairs at his home.
The Lakers should have a full squad tonight, except maybe Artest, but Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum are both banged up with minor injuries.
This season the Suns are 11-2 at home and the Lakers are 8-2 on the road.
In their last game the Lakers beat the Sacramento Kings 112-103 in double OT. L.A, out-scored the Kings 11-2 in the 2nd OT to seal the deal. The high scorer for the Lakers in that game was, shocker, Kobe going for 38 points on 16/30 shooting. For the game the Lakers shot 43/98 for a FG% of 43.9%. On D the Lakers allowed the Kings to shoot 42/105 from the floor for a FG% of 40%.
The Suns lost a barnburner to the Golden State Warriors 132-127 on Saturday night. The Suns were outscored by 9 points in the 4th quarter and that sealed their fate. The high scorer for the Lakers in that game was Steve Nash going for 36 points on 14/22 shooting. For the game the Suns were on fore from the floor going 47/88 for a FG% of 53.4%. On D the Suns took another night off allowing the Warriors to shoot 48/84 for a scorching FG% of 57.1%.
This season the Suns are the highest scoring team in the league (109.5 ppg) while the Lakers rank 7th (103.3 ppg). On defense the Lakers are legit ranking 6th in points allowed (95.6 ppg) while the Suns are far from legit only ranking 29th (106.1 ppg), which is the 2nd worst total in the league. The Lakers are a tad better on the glass with a rebounding differential of +1.6 rpg and the Suns are at -1.4 rpg.
The Lakers have been taking it to the Suns as of late and they have been able to dominate both sides of the court. Look for the Lakers to do that tonight, as they have the athletes to match up with Phoenix.
Steve Nash (18.7 ppg) will be matched up against Lakers’ PG Derek Fisher
and he will have a big game tonight scoring and dishing out the rock.
Look for Suns PF Amare Stoudemire (20.1 ppg 8.6 rpg) to struggle tonight. In the last game against the Lakers Artest guarded him and guarded him well and even if Artest can’t go tonight Amare will still have to deal with the two 7-footers of Andrew Bynum (15 ppg 8.1 rpg) and Pau Gasol (17.1 ppg 12.1 rpg).
Bynum and Gasol will win the battle of the boards tonight, as the Suns simply do not have the size to deal with this duo.
For the Suns to win Jason Richardson (15.9 ppg) has to score, but he will have trouble doing that tonight being guarded by Bryant, who is one of the best defenders in the league.
The Lakers have so many scoring options that they will be able to light up the scoreboard against a weak Suns’ defense.
On the injury front SG Kobe Bryant, C Andrew Bynum, and SF Ron Artest are all day-to-day for the Lakers while the Suns are not reporting any significant injuries.
Jason’s Pick: Even though the Suns are a legit team and will make the playoffs they do not match up well with the Lakers. Well, who does? Kobe will have a big game and so with Bynum and Gasol, as the Lakers will shred the Suns in the half court game and shoot well enough to somewhat thwart the Suns’ running game. I think the Lakers will have no problem winning this game and I think the Over is a solid pick as well.