- The Phoenix Suns seek their third consecutive road win against Los Angeles as 1.5-point underdogs on Wednesday (TNT, 10pm ET)
- The Suns’ Devin Booker is coming off a 43-point performance, while the Lakers’ Anthony Davis remains out of the lineup due to injury
- Read below for analysis and a pick on the game
The Phoenix Suns have been strong all season, but they have been especially impressive on the road as of late.
After winning the first two games of their current road trip, the Suns are looking to win their fifth consecutive road game on Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Lakers have won their last two games, but lost the three games prior to that, and are without Anthony Davis for another few weeks as he nurses a sore achilles. Still, Los Angeles are 1.5-point favorites at home in the first meeting of the season between the two teams.
Suns vs Lakers Odds
|Phoenix||+1.5 (-110)||+102||O 215.5 (-108)|
|LA Lakers||-1.5 (-110)||-120||U 215.5 (-112)|
Odds taken from FanDuel on March 1st
Everything Starts on Defense
Los Angeles has been praised all season long for its effort on defense, but Phoenix has been pretty good as well. Both sides are top-five teams in defensive efficiency and points allowed over their last three games. The Lakers’ defense has had a pretty significant effect on betting outcomes, as LA games have finished under their predicted point total 65% of the time.
Suns 6th ranked defense stymied the Wolves offense tonight, just 23% shooting outside the restricted area and…
95.2 ORTG (8th percentile)
42.4% eFG% (4th percentile)
— Alan Horton (@WolvesRadio) March 1, 2021
Phoenix games have finished under in 17 of the 33 they’ve played this year. Only six of the Suns’ 16 road games have finished over, and the Lakers’ last three games failed to reach the 215.5-point projection set for tomorrow night.
The Suns have one of the lowest paces of play on offense in the NBA and the Lakers are just outside the bottom-third. Three-pointers will be at a premium as well, as Phoenix has held opponents to the second-lowest three-point percentage in the league, and the Lakers are the fifth-worst three point shooting team in the NBA.
Can Booker Break Through?
No Suns player has been hotter than Devin Booker, who has scored 33, 22 and 43 points in his last three games. The Phoenix superstar actually punched his ticket to the All-Star Game, filling in for an injured Davis. LA has been hot-and-cold against some of the league’s top scorers over their last four games, but Booker should still be in line for a big night.
Booker (43 PTS, 5 REB, 5 AST) was locked in against the Timberwolves 🔒 pic.twitter.com/sg37Wnvn7i
— NBA TV (@NBATV) March 1, 2021
Washington’s Bradley Beal dropped 33 points on the Lakers in a road win last Monday, and Russell Westbrook added another 32. The Lakers held Utah’s Donovan Mitchell to just 13 points on February 24 and Stephen Curry to 16 on Sunday, but in between, Damian Lillard scored 35 in LA’s win over Portland. With Chris Paul in the backcourt for Phoenix, the Lakers seem likely to have a difficult time completely locking Booker up.
Booker actually is just in front of LeBron James in usage this season, and has the ninth-highest made field goals per game average over the last two weeks — also just in front of James.
Ugly Lakers Trends
Los Angeles has been one of the best teams on the court this season, but have been frustrating to pin down for bettors.
Total Team Effort #LakeShow @KingJames: 19 pts, 6 reb, 2 blk@Keefmorris: 13 pts, 8 reb, 4 ast@ACFresh21: 13 pts, 4 reb, 4 ast@kylekuzma: 12 pts, 11 reb
Dennis Schröder: 12 pts, 6 ast@Thortontucker: 11 pts pic.twitter.com/VmMiLXCtKZ
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) March 1, 2021
The Lakers are just 16-19 against the spread this season and 7-11 ATS at home. Both teams are playing on one day’s rest; Phoenix is 11-7 in such games, while LA is 19-7. The difference is the Suns are also 11-7 ATS in those games while the Lakers are 12-14.
In terms of on-court production, James has seen his numbers slip without Davis alongside him in the lineup. Going back to his 46-point performance against Cleveland on January 25, he put together 13 consecutive performances of 20 points or more. Following Frank Vogel’s announcement on February 19 that Davis would miss up to four weeks, James has finished under the 20-point threshold in three-of-five games.
Making the Call
Removing Anthony Davis from the Lakers’ lineup significantly changes the expectation for how this one will play out. Among the team’s qualifying players, he has the best defensive rating and second-best rebound share per 100 possessions.
The Lakers have had the fourth-worst field goal percentage in their last three games, while Phoenix has shot 50% during that span. Phoenix is rolling into the All-Star Break with momentum while the time off can’t come soon enough for the Lakers. The under is a distinct possibility, but Phoenix should win outright tomorrow night.
The Pick: Phoenix Moneyline (+102)
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