Heading into the season, this was supposed to be a fairly easy win, but that doesn’t appear to be the case as general manager James Jones has altered the Suns’ usual strategy, and the team now employs multiple legitimate NBA players. What a time.
Phoenix will still be without DeAndre Ayton as he continues to serve his suspension for a banned substance, but that hasn’t slowed the Suns, as they’re currently outscoring opponents by 7.2 points per 100 possessions. This is only a shade behind the Lakers’ net rating of 7.4. So in that regard, this is a pretty close matchup.
The difference (among other things) this year appears to be what Ricky Rubio has done for Phoenix’s offense. They’re currently averaging the most assists per game in the NBA (28.1), and Rubio is leading the way in that regard, averaging 8.1 assists per game individually. Booker is right behind him at 5.4 dimes per contest.
The biggest concern heading in, though, is Anthony Davis’ health, as he is currently listed as questionable for the game with that sore shoulder. He downplayed the comments he made after the Lakers lost to Toronto Sunday night at practice yesterday, but it’s getting to the point where it might be wise just to have him sit if he is indeed feeling pain on every play.
As of right now, it’s probably likely that he plays, but we’ll keep an eye on that situation and continue to update it as we get information.
Another place Phoenix might look to hurt the Lakers is on the break. The Lakers are giving up 21.6 points per game in transition, tied for the seventh-most in the league. Phoenix scores 21.3 fast break points per game, the eighth-most in the NBA. If the Lakers aren’t careful, Phoenix will take full advantage of those situations, especially to start the game, as all 37 people in the city will surely make their way over to the arena.
Sunday was a bit of a trap game considering the circumstances and technically, this game might qualify for such a designation again given how surprising a start to the season Phoenix has had. The Lakers are almost assuredly going to get Phoenix’s best punch in this one, so they’d better show up ready for that kind of effort.
Notes and Updates
- UPDATE: Rajon Rondo will play tonight, and Troy Daniels is available as well:
Frank Vogel says Rajon Rondo will play and come off the bench tonight on a 15 minute restriction. Troy Daniels is also available to play but Vogel says he will likely only use him in a pinch.— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) November 13, 2019
Rondo will be held out in the second night of the back-to-back when the Lakers host Golden State tomorrow.— Bill Oram (@billoram) November 13, 2019
Tip-off is at 6:00 p.m. PST, and the game will be broadcast locally on Spectrum SportsNet.