Suns back home to face tired and depleted Lakers

Dec 23, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns forward Miles Plumlee (22) is congratulated by teammate forward Marcus Morris (15) in the first half against the Los Angeles Lakers at US Airways Center. The Suns won 117-90. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 23, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns forward Miles Plumlee (22) is congratulated by teammate forward Marcus Morris (15) in the first half against the Los Angeles Lakers at US Airways Center. The Suns won 117-90. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

The Suns struggled during their five-game road trip that ended Monday night against the “surging” as of late New York Knickerbockers. The Suns went 1-4 on the trip. Wednesday night brings some relief to the Suns, as they will be back home and facing the Lakers.

The 22-16 Suns host the 14-24 Los Angeles Lakers Wednesday night in what is the first night of a long road trip for the Lakers. The Lakers look to get off to a good start on the trip but they will have a tough time against a better team even without Eric Bledsoe. The Lakers are currently on a five game losing streak as they try to work with a severely depleted lineup; not only are they missing Kobe but the Lakers are without the services of Steve Nash, Xavier Henry, Chris Kaman and Jordan Farmar. This team is hurting at almost every position. The Suns should not let up though as of late the Lakers have been keeping games close and making teams work for those w’s.

Key Matchup:

Goran Dragić versus Nick Young. Dragić has been exactly what he needed to be in the last five games. When Bledsoe’s injury was announced everyone assumed that the Suns would give up. Dragić has been aggressive and efficient and kept the Suns in games they might have not been able to put up a fight. He will once again need to lead the team in scoring and more importantly in attacking the basket create opportunities at the free-throw line. Nick Young has been the lone bright spot on a team dealing with major injuries and chemistry issues. Young has averaged 19.5 points per game in the last 10 games. He is a great complement to Gasol on offense and will need a big night to help his team win.

Key stat:

Turnovers. The Suns average about two more steals per game compared with the Lakers. The Suns need to be aggressive on the defensive side of the ball to continue that trend. Former first rounder and Phoenix Sun Kendal Marshall has been starting as of late and will be a liability for the Lakers if the Suns can pressure him into turning the ball over.

What the Suns offense needs to look for:

Close out games. The Suns continue to struggle in closing out close games. Or games in general; the team will need to improve in this facet if they ever want to be more than just a fun team to watch. The team lost four out of five games on the most recent road trip. Remarkably the Suns lost all four games by less than five points. Learning to win starts now, the Suns will need to learn to seal close games.

What the Suns defense needs to look out for:

Pau “Pow”. Gasol has come alive as of late; he has averaged 19 points and 11 rebounds per game in the last 10 games. He should be the focus of the interior defense for the Suns. His ability to play in the paint as well as outside will keep the Suns defense on its heels.

 Los Angeles Laker sleeper to have a good game:

Jodie Meeks. Besides being a comically horrible flopper Meeks has been hot as of late. Because of the injuries to the Lakers at the guard spot Meeks is getting big minutes from coach D’Antoni. Meeks is averaging 17.2 points per game in his last 10 games. This will make him a player to keep an eye on for the Suns defense.

Prediction: The Suns beat the tired and depleted Lakers 105-95.

 

Topics: Basketball, Eric Bledsoe, Game Previews, Goran Dragic, Kendall Marshall, Lakers, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, Phoenix Suns, Sports, Steve Nash, Suns

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