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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Monday, March 18th (All times Eastern)

Los Angeles Lakers (36-32) at Phoenix Suns (22-45), 10 p.m.

(Sports Network) - Kobe Bryant could miss another game for the Los Angeles Lakers, who will pay a visit to the Phoenix Suns Monday night.

Bryant did not play in Sunday's 113-102 victory over the Sacramento Kings because of a sprained left ankle and a case of the flu. Bryant played just 12 minutes in Friday's win at Indiana and is averaging 27.1 ppg this season.

The Lakers managed without their leading scorer as Antawn Jamison rose to the occasion with 27 points and nine rebounds versus the Kings. Steve Nash added 19 points and 12 assists, while Metta World Peace finished with 22 points in the win, L.A.'s 11th in the last 14 tries.

"Everybody contributed, it starts on the defensive end. We moved the ball tonight. We were able to knock down shots and make some big stops at the end," Lakers guard Steve Blake said.

Los Angeles is 13-21 away from home and currently eighth in the Western Conference -- just one-half game behind Houston and a game ahead of Utah.

Phoenix will begin a four-game homestand Monday versus the Lakers, Wizards, Timberwolves and Nets. It is 15-17 in the desert this season.

The Suns have dropped four in a row and six of seven games, including Saturday's 127-105 drubbing at the hands of Washington. Michael Beasley scored a team-best 21 points off the bench and Jared Dudley added 16 points. Goran Dragic ended with 12 points and 11 assists for Phoenix.

"First half, it felt like we had a shot to win the game," said Beasley. "But the way we started the second half, really dictated the whole game."

Phoenix was outscored 75-54 in the middle quarters and trailed by as many as 23 points. The Suns had trouble defending the perimeter and saw the Wizards drain 14-of-21 3-pointers. The Suns, who went winless on the three-game trek, also surrendered 127 points to the league's lowest scoring team.

The Suns look to throw a wrench in the Lakers' plans for better playoff positioning and have dropped two of three meetings in this season's series.

Former Suns guard Nash will make another return to the Valley of the Sun, where the Lakers have dropped three in a row.

03/18 10:33:14 ET