Sun, Mar 21, 2021
By Jim Vassallo (Veri.bet Writer)
The Los Angeles Lakers (28-14) visit the Phoenix Suns (27-13) on Sunday, March 21, at 10 PM ET in the Lakers’ first game following LeBron James’ injury.
James exited the Lakers’ 99-94 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday afternoon in the second quarter after suffering a high ankle sprain. James underwent x-rays and an MRI Saturday afternoon and will miss an undetermined amount of time.
The Lakers are already without Anthony Davis and Marc Gasol due to an injury and health and safety protocols.
The Suns are sitting in second place in the Western Conference and the Lakers are in third. Phoenix is 14-8 at home, while Los Angeles is 14-5 on the road.
In a three-game regular-season series, the Suns have the 1-0 edge, grabbing a 114-104 victory in the first game. After tonight’s tilt, these two teams will not meet again until May 9.
This evening’s game could be a preview of the Western Conference Finals if the Suns stay hot and the Lakers can get healthy before the playoffs arrive this summer.
The Suns are without Cameron Johnson who is in the NBA health and safety protocols. The Lakers will also be without Jared Dudley tonight, who is nursing a knee injury.
With the Suns playing so well of late (7-3 in their last 10 games) and the Lakers (6-4 in their last 10) and without key players, Phoenix is a heavy favorite to win tonight’s contest.
The Suns are coming off a 113-101 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, rebounding following a loss in the previous game to the Timberwolves.
Chris Paul dropped 20 points, Devin Booker added 16, Mikal Bridges scored 17, and Langston Galloway poured in 14 off the bench.
Head coach Monty Williams was ejected in the Suns’ win.
"That is not a tactic I use but tonight was one of those nights I felt like I had to stand up for our guys," Williams said. "I wasn't trying to make a point or anything like that. I was a bit upset about that many no-calls."
Following the ejection, the Suns went on a 17-2 run.
"Chris (Paul) was amazing and the bench came in and gave us a big boost in the third and the beginning of the fourth," Williams said.
In the 99-94 loss to the Hawks, the Lakers were led by Dennis Schroder with 16 points and Markieff Morris with 14. James exited with 10 points, which was the 1,036th-straight game where he scored in double digits.
“The mood of the team is we’re disappointed we lost, and we’ve got to come back and get one tomorrow,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “I won’t disclose what LeBron was like (in the locker room). It’s in-house.”
Phoenix is favored at -10 and with the -550 money line. Your best bet tonight is to take the Suns with the -550 money line with James, Dudley, Gasol, and Davis all listed as out of the lineup. This will be Davis’s 15th straight game out of the lineup and Gasol’s eighth-straight game out of the lineup.