Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Lakers – NBA, Friday, October 22, 2021
Both the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers kicked off the 2021-22 season with a loss. Both teams will look to bounce back on Friday night, but only one can win.
This will be the first time these teams are meeting since the Suns defeated the Lakers in the first round of the 2021 playoffs. I bet Los Angeles would love to get their revenge on Phoenix.
Can they get it done? Let’s take a look at the odds and then I’ll go in-depth on both teams.
Suns vs. Lakers Odds for October 22nd
I have to say, it’s a little surprising to see the Phoenix Suns as the favorite. I know they had the better record last season, but the Los Angeles Lakers came into this season as a championship favorite.
It’s especially surprising with the Suns being the road team.
In addition to the playoff series, these teams played three times in the regular season last year. The Suns won the season series 2-1.
Well, let’s stop talking about last season and focus on this season. Here is my preview of the Suns and Lakers.
Phoenix Suns Preview
The Phoenix Suns caught a lot of people off guard last season. They went from a fringe playoff contender to finishing with the second-best record in the NBA. Then, they went to represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals.
This season, people are wondering if the Suns can back up that success. Well, we got our first taste on Wednesday night.
In the season-opener against the Denver Nuggets, the Suns held a seven-point lead at halftime. Denver went on to outscore them by 19 in the second half to win 110-98.
One thing that stood out to me was the performance of Devin Booker.
- 12 points
- 4 assists
- 4 rebounds
- 3-15 field goal shooting
- 2-7 three-point shooting
Chris Paul may be the most valuable member of the Suns, but Booker is their best scorer. I can’t imagine they’ll win a lot of games if he shots 3-15 from the field. After all, he has averaged over 24 points in each of the last four seasons.
I will say, it was very encouraging to see the balanced scoring from the Suns.
For this matchup, I want to see how Phoenix does defending Anthony Davis. Nikola Jokic had his way with 27 points and 13 rebounds.
Can DeAndre Ayton and the Suns defense do a better job against the Lakers big man?
Los Angeles Lakers Preview
The Los Angeles Lakers kicked off the 2021-22 season with a rematch of last season’s play-in game. This time, the Golden State Warriors got the best of the Lakers.
Los Angeles led most of the way, but Golden State outscored them by nine in the fourth quarter en route to a 121-114 victory.
This was our first chance to see the Lakers new big three in the regular season. LeBron James and Anthony Davis both had terrific performances with 34 and 33 points, respectively. Each also added in 11 rebounds.
Meanwhile, the third member of the big three, Russell Westbrook, had a Lakers debut to forget.
- 8 points
- 5 rebounds
- 4 assists
- 4-13 field goal shooting
- 0-4 three-point shooting
- 4 turnovers
Ouch. Talk about a rough debut. His -23 was by far the worst on the Lakers. Malik Monk was the closest at -10.
Westbrook’s performance drew a critical response from Shaq.
There were already questions this offseason about Westbrook’s fit with the Lakers. Los Angeles wanted a ball-handler like Westbrook to take pressure off James. However, they need more shooting and Westbrook is a career 30.5 percent three-point shooter.
Also, this may not seem like a huge deal, but the Lakers missed 10 free throws in their season opener. It’s hard to win games when you miss that many.
Prediction/Top Pick for Suns vs. Lakers
There are a few things I’m looking at for this matchup.
For the Phoenix Suns, I want to see how Devin Booker bounces back from a rough season-opener. Booker had his way with the Los Angeles Lakers in the playoffs last season. If he can replicate that performance, the Suns should win.
Carmelo Anthony was the Lakers highest scorer with nine points. Meanwhile, the Suns had seven players hit that mark in their season-opener.
James and Davis aren’t going to have 30+ points in every game. Westbrook and the depth pieces have to step up.
With all the moving parts, I’m going to avoid betting on the winner. Instead, I’m going to go with the point total being under 223.
Between the regular season and playoffs, the Suns and Lakers matched up nine times last season. Let’s check out the point total for each matchup.
- 218 points
- 205 points
- 223 points
- 199 points (playoffs)
- 211 points
- 204 points
- 192 points
- 200 points
- 213 points
In the final regular-season meeting, the teams combined for 223 points. That marks the projection for this game. Every other meeting went under by at least five points.
Between the Suns team-first approach and the Lakers depth struggling, we’re likely looking at one of those 110-105 games. Who knows who will win?
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