Phoenix Suns (0-1)
Los Angeles Lakers (1-0)
Thursday, November 3nd
Lakers @ Nuggets 99-97 OT (WIN)
Mavs @ Suns 111-108 2OT (LOSS)
Projected Starting Five
Coach Mike D'Antoni
C - Kurt Thomas
PF - Shawn Marion
SF - James Jones
SG - Raja Bell
PG - Steve Nash
Coach Phil Jackson
C - Chris Mihm
PF - Kwame Brown
SF - Lamar Odom
SG - Kobe Bryant
PG - Smush Parker
Predicted Stats: 8 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists
Predicted Stats: 6 points, 4 rebounds, 0 assists
Who Got Game?
Predicted Stats: 24 points on 45% shooting, 3 rebounds, 14 assists
Predicted Stats: 32 points on 47% shooting, 6 rebounds, 5 assists
The Phoenix Suns are coming off a loss to the Dallas Mavericks, while the Lakers clawed their way to a victory over the Denver Nuggets, two games driving past regulation to make for one heck of a show in the first two days of the regular season. The difference is one game was played last night, and the other the night before. Unfortunately for Phil and Kobe, they have the back-to-back. The good news? It's their first home game of the year. Mix in the fact that Amare won't be playing for quite some time, and the Lakers have a shot at winning this game versus last year's MVP and his partner in crime, the Matrix.
Unless Nash is speaking in Canadian, he will most definitely be calling the shots in Los Angeles tonight. It almost seems as if these two teams are similar, without Amare...both ran by MVP-caliber players, with versatile forwards as secondary scoring options...that is, if Odom wants to score. If the Lakers want to defeat these angry Suns, they're going to have to pound the ball inside and take advantage of Stoudemire's absence, and this means guard slashing, as well as our big men working the paint. Odom can have it fairly easy on offense tonight, especially if Marion has to hold Kwame most of the time, so look for Lamar to use his size advantage against James Jones to drive the lane and score on his own.
A true test for Los Angeles will be defending the perimeter. Jones, Jackson, Nash, Marion, Bell, Barbosa...these guys aren't shy to take a long-range jumper, or even a few beyond the arc, when they are left open, and this could give us trouble early in the game. This could be a great opportunity for Vujacic to work on his defense a bit more, because in his first appearance against the Nuggets, he didn't look so shabby. We all realize an "A" for effort gets us nowhere, but he's laying it all out there to prove that he belongs in purple and gold, something I can only respect.
Camby destroyed Mihm last night, and it looks as if Marion and Kurt Thomas will look to do the same to a worn and torn Chris Mihm tonight. Phil would be smart to play Bynum, who has a bigger frame to bang with Thomas, giving him some playing time and letting him do his own thing in the triangle. Otherwise, we've got a big kid who has no idea what his role is on this team.
The Lakers and Suns will fight for a win in this game as well. I don't see the Lakers' frontcourt doing much, once again, but Kobe and Smush can damage the Suns' backcourt defense (or lack of) and turn this game around for Los Angeles. If the Suns and Lakers agree to duel it out offensively, expect the Lakers to lose by 10 or more points. If they go at it defensively and make consistent stops throughout the game, taking their time offensively, then it's anyone's game.
Phil is angry, Kobe is all smiles, and Mihm is afraid he's already in the doghouse...they all stand out, and the Lakers beat the Suns, 101-96.