The Lakers are going to be on their second game of a back-to-back as they take on the Phoenix Suns. It’s going to be quite a different game compared to the first one because there are going to be some cast of characters that won’t be appearing on Monday’s contest.
We already know about Anthony Davis missing action for possibly a month or longer. Well, Devin Booker for the Suns won’t be playing, either, due to groin soreness. Last time Booker was in action, he scored a whopping 58 points. That is a lot of scoring.
It’s not only Booker that’s out but both Camerons (Johnson and Payne), Jock Landale, and Duane Washington, Jr. (who was huge for the Suns in their first match-up against the Lakers) are all not playing. Deandre Ayton is listed as questionable as of this writing but he didn’t play the last couple of games because of an ankle injury.
On the Lakers’ side, LeBron James and Austin Reaves (who got hurt against Washington) have been deemed out for Monday. Not surprising that LeBron is out (said to be ankle soreness) since this is a back-to-back. He also missed the first game against the Suns last month. Patrick Beverley did not play against Washington and there’s no update to him playing on Monday. We know what he did against Phoenix. Wenyen Gabriel is available for this contest, though.
Chris Paul, who also missed the first game, will play this time around. Like I said, this game is going to have a much different look compared to the first game as there seems to be more players in the trainer’s room instead of on the court.
As for the game itself, well, the Lakers are certainly going to miss Anthony Davis’s 37 points and 21 rebounds from the first match-up. But a big reason the Lakers lost was that Phoenix’s three-point shooting buried them. The Suns made 16 threes compared to only four for the Lakers. The Lakers also turned the ball over 17 times (Phoenix was messy, too, at 15) and they simply can’t give away possessions to an elite offensive team like Phoenix (who are currently third in offensive rating, scoring 116.1 points per 100 possessions).
The Lakers will have to find a way to contain Chris Paul, who is averaging a career-low 11.1 points. With the Suns ravaged with injuries, the Lakers will have to make CP3 work harder than he should. Mikal Bridges had 25 points in the previous game; they can’t let him get off to a good start.
There are so many players out for this game but the Lakers are heavily dependent on James and Davis. I’m not sure I like this for the Lakers. Still, that’s why they play the games.
It’s the Lakers’ chance to go two games under .500, which would be their best record to date this season. It’s certainly a far cry from 2-10, right? And it would be sweeter if they can get some measure of revenge against the last team that eliminated them in the playoffs.