Phoenix Suns (8-1 5-3 ATS) vs. L.A. Lakers (6-1 2-5 ATS) Staples Center Los Angeles, CA 10:30 PM EST Thursday November 12, 2009 on TNT
by Jason Green at Predictem.com
Point Spread: Suns +7.5 / Lakers -7.5
In a big early season game in Tinsel Town tonight the L.A. Lakers host the Phoenix Suns. The Suns are in 1st place in the Pacific Division with the Lakers in 2nd even though both teams only have 1 loss. The Suns are back to their run and gun ways and they are the highest scoring team in the league. The Lakers have been playing great even though they have not played one game with their 2nd best player in PF Pau Gasol. They will have to wait a little longer to get the 7-foot Spaniard back, as he is out for this game, again, with a bum hamstring. The Suns are going for their 5th straight win tonight while the Lakers are going for their 6th straight. 2-time MVP Steve Nash is on fire lately, as even though he only logged 23 minutes last night he had his 4th consecutive double-double (points - assists) and he leads the league in assists (12.6 per game).
Last night the Suns crushed the New Orleans Hornets 124-104. The high scorer for the Suns was Amare Stoudemire going for 21 points on 8/10 shooting. For the game the Suns could not miss going 46/83 from the field for a FG% of 55.4%. The Suns actually played decent D in the game holding the Hornets to 38/85 shooting for a FG% of 44.7%.
The Lakers have had a nice break and in their last game they also beat the New Orleans Hornets 104-88 on Sunday. Yeah, Kobe was the high scorer going for 28 points on 11/21 shooting. For the game the Lakers shot 38/81 for a FG% of 46.9%. On defense the Lakers clamped down holding the Hornets to 31/85 shooting for a paltry FG% of 36.5%.
The Suns are the highest scoring team in the league this season (112.3 ppg) and the Lakers rank 8th (102.7 ppg). On defense the Lakers rank 12th in points allowed (97.4 ppg) while the Suns only rank 24th (105.6 ppg). Both teams are pretty even on the boards, as the Suns have a rebound differential of +1.8 rpg and the Lakers are at -0.1 rpg.
The winner of this game will be able to play their game, as if it is an up-tempo shootout the Suns should win and if is a slow tempo half-court game the Lakers should win.
Besides getting back on D on the break the Lakers have to play solid perimeter D when Nash kicks the ball out, as the Suns lead the league in 3-point FG% (47%).
Derek Fisher and Jordan Farmar have the un-enviable task of trying to slow down Nash and Fisher is not a spring chicken any longer, so the younger and quicker Farmer may get more minutes tonight.
One of the best ways to thwart the fast break is to make buckets, so if the Lakers can shoot well it gives them a better chance of winning.
Lakers’ C Andrew Bynum (20 ppg 10.6 rpg) has missed a couple games with an injured elbow, but he should play in this game. Bynum has to clog up the middle and get back on the break or the Suns will score a lot of points on easy lay-ups.
The Suns do not have a lot of size so if they cannot get out and run they will have a hard time winning this game.
Kobe will get his points and he has to use his experience to slow down the game and not get into a shootout with the Suns, which will play right into the strength of Phoenix.
The Lakers are 6-1 this season, but they are only 2-5 ATS this season, as they tend to play down to their competition.
On the injury front PF Pau Gasol is Out and Andrew Bynum is day to day for the Lakers and SG Leandro Barbosa is day to day for the Suns.
Jason’s Pick: The Lakers still don’t have Gasol, but they will get Bynum back for this game. Kobe will be a fast-break killer and the Lakers will be fired up for this game since the Suns have got a lot of press and lead the Lakers in the Pacific Division. Because of this the Lakers will come out on fire and even though their ATS record is not strong they will come out and win this game and cover the spread taking over at 1st place in the division.