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Preview: Lakers at Suns

January 30, 2013|By Eric Pincus
  • Suns point guard Goran Dragic passes after driving to the basket against the Bucks' John Henson. He'll meet up with the Lakers tonight in Phoenix.
Suns point guard Goran Dragic passes after driving to the basket against… (Ross D. Franklin / Associated…)

The "Kobe Bryant as de facto point guard" experiment will continue Wednesday night as the Lakers visit the Phoenix Suns.

The Suns are tied with the New Orleans Hornets for the worst records in the Western Conference at 15-30. Phoenix recently fired Alvin Gentry, and former Lakers guard Lindsey Hunter has taken over coaching duties.

The Lakers are coming into Phoenix on the second night of a back-to-back. It's a game they need to win if the team has hopes of climbing back into the top eight in the West.

Key matchup

The general rule of thumb for the Lakers, when it comes to matchup, is opposing point guard. That's the position the Lakers struggle to defend most.

Kobe Bryant may draw the assignment but chasing Goran Dragic through screens may be difficult. Dragic is leading the Suns at 14.2 points a game along with 6.4 assists. He always seems to play well against the Lakers, dating back to his time with the Houston Rockets.

The Lakers beat the Suns previously this season on Nov. 16. Dragic led the Suns with 22 points and seven assists. Bryant scored a game-high 31 points with six assists.

X-factor

Luis Scola is another player who seems to score at will against the Lakers. Scola is averaging 13.2 points a game this year for the Suns but shooting just 47.25% from the field.

Scola scored 18 against the Lakers in November.

If Earl Clark is putting up 20 points and 12 rebounds for the Lakers, they're not going to have many problems this season. Coach Mike D'Antoni relied heavily on Clark on Tuesday, even asking the forward to chase around 6-foot-3 shooting guard Eric Gordon.

Outlook

The Lakers have seemingly stalled after every spurt. It would be in form for them to lose Wednesday to the Suns.

If the team has seriously begun to turn the corner, they'll get their fourth win in a row.

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Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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