- The NBA-leading Phoenix Suns are in Los Angeles to take on the Lakers
- LA is down Anthony Davis (knee) and five others due to COVID
- The odds and matchups can be found below with a prediction
The Los Angeles Lakers rebuilt their roster after getting ousted in the first round by the Phoenix Suns last year.
Just over a quarter into this season, it’s looking like not much has changed, as the two teams lock horns at Staples Center Tuesday night.
The Suns are jousting with the Golden State Warriors for the top seed in the West, much like they did a year ago, when they finished as the 2-seed to the Utah Jazz. They’ve already ripped off an 18-game win streak, and even with Devin Booker injured for seven games, Phoenix is an NBA-best 24-5 on the season.
The Lakers are in a logjam at the bottom of the West picture, currently sitting in seventh at 16-15. If the season were to end now, they’d be in the same spot they were a year ago: in the play-in tournament, fighting to clinch a top-8 seed.
The Suns are a 6.5-point road favorite for this 10pm ET tip-off, which can be seen live on TNT.
Suns vs Lakers Odds
|Phoenix Suns||-250||-6.5 (-110)||OFF|
|Los Angeles Lakers||+205||+6.5 (-110)||OFF|
Odds as of Dec 20 at FanDuel
Bet $10, Win $100 if Any Player Scores 10+ Points
Phoenix Suns Outlook
Devin Booker didn’t need to be great in his return from a hamstring injury that shelved him for the previous seven games — his team was.
Phoenix dropped a season high in scoring Sunday night in a 137-106 thumping of the Charlotte Hornets. Booker scored 16 points in a light 26 minutes of work, as no Suns player scored more than 20 points, but nine players had between 11 and 19 points. Deandre Ayton had 15 points and 15 boards, while Chris Paul had 16 points and nine dimes.
Devin Booker did NOT miss a beat 👏pic.twitter.com/xBmnC4Hx0I
— Suns Nation (@SunsNationCP) December 20, 2021
They shot 56.8% from the field, and drilled a season-best 20 3-pointers in 41 attempts (48.8%).
The Suns head into Tuesday riding a three-game win streak, averaging 122 points a game in those W’s. On the season, Phoenix’s numbers are consistently scary.
This ball movement by the Suns 🙌 pic.twitter.com/pxNw0Yd18u
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) December 20, 2021
Phoenix is scoring 111.9 points per game (3rd), shooting 47.8% from the field (2nd) and 36.8% from thee (4th), dishing 26.3 assists per contest (4th), and hauling in 45.8 rebounds a game (7th).
They’re doing it on D too, holding teams to 104.6 points a game (4th), limiting teams to 43.6% shooting (3rd).
LA Lakers Outlook
There is a lot of chaos and uncertainty in Lakerland, as the roster has been hit with injuries and COVID, compounded by a two-game losing streak.
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) December 20, 2021
The latest was Sunday’s 115-110 setback to the Chicago Bulls to wrap up their five game road trip. In a game that went down to the wire, DeMar DeRozan outshined both LeBron James and Russell Westbrook, finishing with a game-high 38 points.
James finished with 31 points, 14 rebounds and six assists in the loss, while Westbrook had 20 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. LA finished their road trip at 3-2.
.@KingJames put up a another double-double! 👑
— NBAIndia (@NBAIndia) December 20, 2021
With eight of their next 11 at home, this might be their chance to move above the mess at the bottom of the West.
It won’t be easy. Anthony Davis has a knee injury that will have him on the shelf for at least four weeks, and a knee injury has kept Kendrick Nunn from making his Lakers’ debut.
Not entirely clear where everything stands with the Lakers in Covid protocols right now, but Frank Vogel and Kent Bazemore both remained in Chicago to quarantine while the team flew home last night, per a spokesperson.
— Bill Oram (@billoram) December 20, 2021
The COVID reserve list is zapping the Lakers of their depth, as Talen Horton-Tucker, Malik Monk, Avery Bradley, Kent Bazemore and Dwight Howard are all sidelined for the Phoenix game and beyond.
With DeAndre Jordan not exactly a top option at the 5, you can expect to see ultra small-ball lineups in this one, with LeBron at the center spot, and Carmelo Anthony at the four.
Suns vs Lakers Pick
This will be the second meeting between these two teams, with the Suns taking the first 115-105.
Phoenix has been superb this year at seeking out weaknesses and exploiting them, working to find the best shot available. That’s doesn’t bode well for a Lakers’ team tied for 4th-worst in points allowed per game at 111.3 — and that was with their best defender AD in the lineup.
Los Angeles is a woeful 6-11 ATS at home this year, and even a superhuman LeBron effort might not be enough to keep this close.
The Pick: Suns -6.5 (-110)