Showtime: 6 p.m. PT
Plot: So much for the Los Angeles Lakers beating an underwhelming Cleveland Cavaliers team in the first half of their back-to-back and last game at Staples until the end of January. The purple and gold were met with a barrage of threes from Luol Deng and continue their spiral to the bottom of the pack, losing their eleventh game in 12 outings. That's not good.
Other not good things: The whooping the Phoenix Suns put on the Lakers when they last met. Of course, since that 27 point drumming things have taken a turn for the worse for Los Angeles. That stinging loss was just the tip of the iceberg for where the Lakers were heading. There's a tanking and Titanic pun to be made here.
The Lakers have minimal roster depth and a long road ahead of them. We're still talking about one active point guard. We're still talking about Nick Young, Wesley Johnson and Jodie Meeks as the only healthy wings on the roster. Pau Gasol is "probable" for this game and will likely be a question mark for a bit as he deals with a strained toe.
Kendall Marshall, Jodie Meeks, Nick Young, Robert Sacre, Wesley Johnson, Pau Gasol, Chris Kaman, Ryan Kelly and Jordan Hill are going to struggle, there's no way around that. That may be for the better in the long-run, but these losses have become less "at least they tried" and more under-our-breath sighs.
The Suns have injury problems of their own, though, with standout point guard Eric Bledsoe out indefinitely after partially removing the meniscus in his right knee. It's the second time that Bledsoe injured his right knee, and it's a brutal injury to a young point guard on his way to becoming a restricted free agent while putting up career-high numbers. Recently re-signed Leandro Barbosa is also questionable for the game because of a shoulder injury.
On the second half of a back-to-back after a deflating loss, this will be a tough outing for Los Angeles. With the Lakers going on their seven-game NBA tour, there are sure to be losses. This stretch of games could feature the Lakers going into full free fall mode leading up to the team re-examining Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant when they return to Los Angeles.
This one may be a throwaway, but they have the Boston Celtics up next on Friday which may be their most winnable game on this trip.