Phoenix Suns (54-28 SU 47-34-1 ATS) vs. L.A. Lakers 57-25 SU 34-46-2 ATS) STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA 9 PM EST Monday May 17, 2010 on TNT
by Jason Green at Predictem.com
Point Spread: Suns +6 / Lakers -6
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Tonight in La La Land the defending champion L.A. Lakers host the Phoenix Suns in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals. Each team is coming is come off a sweep in their last series and has had a week to rest to get ready for this game.
This season the Lakers were 34-7 at home and the Suns were 22-19 on the road.
The Lakers have yet to lose at home in the playoffs.
The Lakers swept the Utah Jazz, as the 7-foot duo of Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol could not be stopped inside. The Suns will get Robin Lopez back for this series after missing many games with a back injury and Phoenix will need him and Amare Stoudamire to play good D on Bynum and Gasol, especially on the boards.
Steve Nash played great in the Suns sweep of the San Antonio Spurs and he will need to shoot the rock well and penetrate and dish out for the Suns to win. In an interesting stat Nash has played in the most playoff games (112) without playing in the finals.
Jason Richardson is a huge key for the Suns, as they are very tough to beat when he scores at least 20 points.
In the regular season the Lakers beat the Suns in 3 of 4 games.
The Suns have to play a run-and-gun- style and score a lot of points, as they are not a good defensive team. Conversely, if the Lakers can make tonight’s game a half court affair they will win.
Kobe Bryant is the big gun for the Lakers, obviously, but the Suns need to keep the other Lakers’ players from having big scoring games.
In their last game the Lakers finished off a sweep beating the Utah Jazz 111-96 last Monday night. The high scorer for the Lakers was Pau Gasol going for 33 points on 12/18 shooting and he also grabbed 14 boards. For the game the Lakers shot well going 38/83 from the floor for a FG% of 45.8%. On D the Lakers allowed the Jazz to shoot 37/81 for a FG% of 45.7%.
In their last game the Suns finished off their sweep beating the San Antonio Spurs 107-101 last Sunday. The high scorer for the Suns was Amare Stoudemire going for 29 points on 10/17 shooting. For the game the Suns shot 37/81 for a FG% of 45.7%. On defense the Suns allowed the Spurs to shoot 35/75 for a FG% of 46.7%.
This season the Suns had the highest scoring team in the league averaging 110.2 ppg while the Lakers ranked 12th (101.7 ppg). On defense the Lakers ranked 9th in opponents’ points allowed (98.9 ppg) and the Suns only ranked 26th (105.3 ppg). The Lakers were a better team on the boards this season with a rebounding differential of +2.1 rpg while the Suns were at +0.7 rpg.
According to the Sagarin NBA ratings the Lakers rank 2nd (95.94) and the Suns rank 3rd (95.81).
Phoenix is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games as a road underdog, 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 playoff games as an underdog, and 34-16-1 ATS in their last 51 games.
Phoenix has an Under record of 7-1-1 in their last 9 road games and an Under record of 4-1 in their last 5 playoff games as an underdog.
L.A. is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games, 5-11-1 ATS in their last 17 home games, and 3-11 ATS in their last 14 games following an ATS win.
L.A. has an Over record of 3-0-1 in their last 4 games and an Under record of 11-3 in their last 14 playoff games as a favorite.
In the last 6 games between these 2 teams the home team has an ATS record of 5-1.
On the injury front C Robin Lopez is day-to-day for Phoenix and C Andrew Bynum is day-to-day for L.A.
Jason’s Pick: Both teams are on fire, but I think the Lakers will be the team that continues their dominance, as they are simply a much better team in the paint. The Lakers will step up on D, slow down the pace and score at will inside, as they will win this game, cover the spread, and take a 1-0 lead in this series.