Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Lakers Preview and Pick

Phoenix Suns (26-12) -2, 225 at Los Angeles Lakers (26-11), 10:30 pm Eastern Thursday, TNT
by Zman of

One of the hottest teams in the league looks to continue its winning ways when the Los Angeles Lakers host the Phoenix Suns in the late night-cap of an NBA-TNT double-header Thursday night.

NBA betting boards list Phoenix as a two-point road favorite for this game, with a total of 225. Also, the Suns are listed at around -135 on various Vegas moneylines, with the Lakers getting +115 as home underdogs.

Phoenix started this season 16-4, but has gone just 10-8 since then. In their most recent outing, the Suns lost to the Clippers at the Staples Center Tuesday 97-90, their second defeat in their last three games and their sixth loss in their last nine road games.

On the other side of this match-up, Los Angeles started this season 9-8, but has gone 17-3 since. Monday in Seattle, the Lakers extended their current winning streak to seven games with a 123-121 overtime win over the Sonics, thanks in large part to 48 points from Kobe Bryant.

So LA has overtaken Phoenix in both the Pacific Division and Western Conference, now leading the Suns by a half-game in both races. But while the Lakers are the current #1 seed in the West, Phoenix is the #6 seed, despite the minuscule difference in their records.

Phoenix has kicked the Lakers out the playoffs each of the last two seasons. Last season, the Suns took three of four games from LA during the regular season, then beat the Lakers in five games in the first round of the playoffs. But LA has popped Phoenix twice already this season, by scores of 119-98 and 122-115.


So these two teams have played 11 games against each other over the course of the last 14 months. The Suns have won seven of those meetings, but the Lakers have covered the spread in eight of those games. Also, the o/u has gone 7-4 in those 11 games, which have averaged 209 total points. But if the total on Thursday’s game of 225 had been posted on each of those last 11 meetings in the series between these two teams, only two of those games would have gone over.

This season, Phoenix is just 15-22 against the spread, 13-8 straight up but 9-11 vs. the numbers on the road. Meanwhile, LA is 22-14 ATS this season, 15-5 SU and 12-7-1 vs. the numbers at home.

Statistically speaking, the Suns rank 6th in the league in point differential at +4.9 per game, are shooting 49% from the field as a team, 38% from 3-point range and 78% from the free-throw line. But Phoenix is allowing opponents to shoot 46% from the field and ranks dead last in the league in rebounding at -5.3 boards per game.

Meanwhile, the Lakers rank 3rd in point differential at +6.4 per game, are shooting 48% from the floor, 37% from long range and 76% from the stripe, are holding foes to 44% FG shooting and rank 9th in rebounding at +1.5 per game.

The Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at ranks the Suns 8th at 94.1, LA 3rd at 95.8. Sagarin’s current NBA home-court advantage figure is 2.75.

On the injury front, the Lakers will be playing their second game with C Andrew Bynum, who hurt his knee Sunday and is expected to be out until March. On the other side, Phoenix is without F Grant Hill, who underwent an appendectomy last week and will miss at least the next couple of weeks.

The o/u is 20-18 in Suns games this season, which are averaging 215 total points, while the totals are 19-17 in LA games, which are averaging 209 points.