Steve Nash scored 28 and added 14 assists in the Suns’ win on Friday.
Don’t write off Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash just yet. Nash is 36 and no longer has Amare Stoudamire to play pick-and-roll with, but he still can be great. The two-time league MVP began this season slow getting adjusted to new starters, but he was magnificent in his last start.
Nash scored 28 points, dished off 14 assists and had seven rebounds this past Friday night as Phoenix defeated Sacramento, 103-89, as seven-point home favorites. The combined 192 points fell way ‘under’ the 215-point NBA betting total.
Nash, though, will have to be at his best again if the Suns are going to stay close on the road against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday. Game time is 6:30 p.m. PT at Staples Center.
The Lakers aren’t going to be in a great mood after suffering their first loss of the season this past Thursday against Denver.
Los Angeles had won its first eight games. The Lakers were trying to go 9-0 for the first time since the 1997-98 season. The Nuggets, however, came from behind to pull the upset, 118-112, as three-point home underdogs. The 230 points sailed ‘over’ the 212-point ‘over/under.’
Kobe Bryant scored a season-high 34 points in the loss with Pau Gasol contributing 17 points and 20 rebounds. Bryant currently is fourth in the league in scoring at 25.2 points per game. The Lakers are 5-4 ATS.
The Suns certainly won’t lack for motivation either. It was the Lakers who ended their season eliminating Phoenix in six games in the Western Conference finals.
The Suns hosted the Lakers on Oct. 29 and lost 114-106 as 3 ½-point ‘dogs. The combined 220 points went ‘over’ the 207-point total. The ‘over’ has cashed in five of the last seven meetings between the two clubs.
Bryant led Los Angeles with 25 points. Grant Hill had 21 points for the Suns.
Phoenix missed 24-of-33 3-point shots in the loss. Nash didn’t have a great game missing six of nine shots from the floor and scoring eight points.
The Suns, 4-4, ranked last in defensive field goal percentage going into their last game against Sacramento allowing opponents to shoot 48.5 percent from the floor.
Phoenix also was one of the worst teams in the league in turnovers, committing an average of more than 17 a game with Nash turning the ball over nearly five times per game.
“The biggest thing for us, as we get more cohesive, we’ll have less turnovers,” Nash was quoted as saying. “I think that will be a problem that goes away.”
The Suns haven’t adequately replaced Stoudamire. Phoenix’s two centers–Channing Frye and Robin Lopez–were shooting only 34 percent from the floor through this past Thursday. That was worse than any NBA center tandem in the league except for Minnesota’s Darko Milicic and Anthony Tolliver.
Los Angeles is leading the NBA in scoring. The Lakers are averaging 112.1 points per game. Phoenix ranks third averaging 107.6 points. If you discount the Lakers’ lackluster 99-94 home win against Minnesota, they would be averaging 113.7 points.
The Lakers ranked 15th defensively giving up 101.7 points a game, while the Suns were 28th surrendering 107 points.
The ‘under’ has cashed in Phoenix’s last two games after four straight ‘overs.’
After playing the Lakers, the Suns host Denver on Monday. The Suns then embark on a four-game road trip beginning with Miami on Wednesday followed by Orlando on Thursday. The Suns are 2-2 straight-up and ATS on the road.
The Lakers go on a three-game road swing following this matchup beginning with a Tuesday game against Milwaukee.
Los Angeles is 6-0 straight-up at home, but 3-3 ATS.