Lakers seek season sweep of Suns
The visiting Los Angeles Lakers will try to continue their season-long success against the Suns when the teams meet in Phoenix on Saturday evening.
The Lakers have won all three meetings against the Suns by double digits, most recently a 116-102 win in Los Angeles on Jan. 27.
The Lakers are coming off a 131-120 loss against the visiting Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night, as they again failed in an attempt at winning two straight games for the first time since Jan. 15-17.
Milwaukee, the top team in the Eastern Conference, didn't dominate Los Angeles, which even led by two points with 2 1/2 minutes left before fading. The loss dropped the Lakers 3 1/2 games back of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with 20 games left.
Los Angeles has seen improvement in some areas of its game, however.
The Lakers rank 28th in the NBA at 15.8 turnovers per game, but they finished in single digits for the second straight game.
"I've been very pleased with the way our team is playing, and turnovers have gotten a lot better the last two games," Lakers coach Luke Walton said after the loss to Milwaukee.
The Suns are coming off a 130-116 home loss Friday night to the New Orleans Pelicans, ending their chance of producing just their second winning streak of the season. Phoenix won four straight from Dec. 13-19 but otherwise hasn't captured back-to-back games.
Phoenix led by as many as 11 points in the first half and never trailed before the Pelicans outscored the Suns 38-27 in the third. The result was Phoenix's 18th loss in the past 19 games. The Suns snapped their 17-game losing streak with a 124-121 win at Miami on Monday.
The Lakers have had a lot more success in the second half of back-to-back games this season, winning six of nine, while the Suns have lost all nine.
Phoenix leading scorer Devin Booker told reporters that the Suns need to play "the opposite" of how they played against the Pelicans.
"We have to bring it. I think we will," Booker said. "We're a team that feeds off energy, and I think there's going to be a lot more energy in the building (Saturday), and I think we'll be ready to go."
Booker is averaging 23.2 points in the six games since returning from right hamstring tightness that kept him out two games.
Suns reserve guard Troy Daniels has been shooting the ball well lately. He came into the week averaging 5.3 points, but he scored 14 at Miami and 15 against the Pelicans. He is 7-for-9 from 3-point range in the past two games.
Rookie Deandre Ayton continues to perform at a high level for Phoenix, averaging 16.4 points and 10.1 rebounds. He finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and three steals in the loss to New Orleans.
Phoenix's three other rookies aren't making as much of an impact. Mikal Bridges has scored in double figures only once in his past nine games. De'Anthony Melton is still trying to get back up to speed after missing 10 games with an ankle injury, and Elie Okobo has not played in the past three games.
--Field Level Media
Updated March 2, 2019