Kobe, Lakers visit Nash and Phoenix Suns
By: Joe Freda
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
The Phoenix Suns have a 1-4 spread record in their last five games, with the ‘under’ going 3-2 in that span. Alvin Gentry’s club opens a three-game homestand with Wednesday’s matchup
against the Los Angeles Lakers, who are playing the second night of a back-to-back spot.
Phoenix blew a 14-point lead in Sunday’s 94-89 setback as a five-point road favorite against the Sacramento Kings. The Suns were outrebounded, 60-32, while being held to 40.2 percent field shooting.
Suns guard Steve Nash finished with team-highs of 20 points and 12 assists, logging his third double-double in four games. The 36-year-old hit a perfect 8-of-8 from the field, including 2-of-2 from three-point land.
Phoenix’ Marcin Gortat grabbed a team-high six boards off the bench, while scoring 16 points. The backup center played a season-high 36 minutes, notching three of his squad’s five blocks.
The contest’s combined 183 points plunged ‘under’ the 207-point NBA odds. Phoenix was outscored in the paint, 40-38, while trumping Sacramento in fast break points, 13-11.
The Suns are 5-10 ATS in their first 15 home dates, with the ‘over’ going 8-7. Nash and Co. have allowed 105.5 PPG in that span.
Los Angeles saw a two-game winning streak end with Monday’s 104-85 setback as a 9 ½-point home favorite against the Memphis Grizzlies. The Lakers trailed by as many as 26 points, committing a sizable 20 turnovers.
Lakers guard Kobe Bryant notched a team-high 28 points, while adding two steals. The 12-time All-Star struggled from beyond the arc, hitting only 1-of-7 shots.
Bryant’s mate Andrew Bynum logged nine points and a team-high 11 rebounds. The six-year center added a season-high five blocks.
The lopsided battle’s combined 189 points ducked below the ‘total’ of 196 ½. Los Angeles was outscored on fast breaks, 28-5, while allowing Memphis to hit 45.6 percent of its field buckets.
The Lakers are 10-8 ATS in their first 18 road games, with the ‘under’ also going 10-8. Phil Jackson’s club has put up 102.3 PPG in that stretch.
Los Angeles will visit Phoenix on no rest, traveling from Tuesday’s home game against the Detroit Pistons. The Lakers are 4-2 ATS in the second game of their first six back-to-back spots, with the ‘over’ also cashing at 4-2.
The rivals have split both meetings between them this year, with the ‘over’ going 2-0. Los Angeles triumphed in October’s 114-106 win as a 3 ½-point road favorite, but lost a Nov. 14 home rematch, 121-116, as 8 ½-point ‘chalk.’ Bynum missed the pair of duels for the Lakers with a knee injury.
Wednesday’s tip is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. (PT), with ESPN providing the national television coverage.
Both squads will have one day off before resuming play on Friday’s league schedule. Phoenix remains at US Airways Center to face the New York Knicks, while Los Angeles returns home to meet the New Orleans Hornets.