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Lakers vs. Suns Preview: Ladies and gentlemen, prepare your tanks

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Two teams are forced to compete, but only one can lose.

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers went from playing some of their most inspired basketball to the lows we've been so accustomed to through the season, starting out their last two losses shooting under 25 percent from the field in the first quarter.  If there were ever a game for them to mirror that sort of effort, this is it.

The Phoenix Suns are just close enough to the Lakers in the draft lottery standings to make their final two games of the season the kind of thing that gives fans nightmare sweats. Phoenix currently sits with the third-best odds heading into the ping-pong ball filled night, just four games back from the Lakers. There are only 14 games left in the season, leaving little room for Phoenix to cover that kind of ground, but facing off in two of those games makes it a much dicier scenario.

Things fell apart for Phoenix as, ironically, the health of their guards diminished. Eric Bledsoe suffered a torn meniscus he underwent surgery on in December, and Brandon Knight missed over a month with a groin injury. T.J. Warren's broken foot was the nail in the coffin for their season. The Suns have won just six games since Jan. 1, a far cry from opening the season 6-4 through the first 10 games.

The Suns are playing poorly, the Lakers have only won two more games than the Suns through the same stretch mentioned above, and lottery odds are at stake. This mid-March game has plenty of significance, just for all of the wrong reasons. Try to enjoy it without getting any new gray hairs.

Time: 7:30 p.m. PT

TV: TWCSN, FSAZ