NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, December 23rd (All times Eastern)
Los Angeles Lakers (13-14) at Phoenix Suns (16-10), 9 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Phoenix Suns will try to defeat the rival Los Angeles Lakers for the second time in almost two weeks when the Pacific Division foes collide Monday at US Airways Center.
The Suns handed the Lakers a 114-108 loss on Dec. 10 at Staples Center and Goran Dragic finished with a game-high 31 points. Kobe Bryant, who is out again with left tibial plateau fracture in his knee, scored 20 points in that one for Los Angeles.
Phoenix has won five of the past seven meetings with the Lakers, losers in four straight trips to the desert.
Saturday's 123-108 beating of the Dallas Mavericks gave Phoenix its seventh win in eight tries. Eric Bledsoe and Gerald Green scored 25 and 22 points, respectively, and Channing Frye added 18 points for the Suns, who made 15- of-30 3-pointers and shot 51.2 percent.
P.J. Tucker had 16 points and Dragic ended with 13 in the win. The 123 points scored were a season high and Phoenix is averaging 108.3 ppg in the last eight contests. The Suns are 13-4 when scoring 100-plus points.
"The confidence is way up," Dragic said. "We were shooting the ball well."
Dragic is averaging 19.6 points per game in his last five, while Frye is posting an average of 14.3 ppg in the last 15.
The Suns are 9-4 as the host this season.
Los Angeles looks to get back on track and had won two in a row and three of four games before Saturday's 102-83 loss at Golden State.
Nick Young, who leads the Lakers with 15.4 ppg, had 20 points and Jordan Hill ended with 14 and 10 rebounds. Chris Kaman ended with 10 points and grabbed 17 rebounds for Los Angeles, which shot just 32.5 percent for the game and made only 4-of-20 3-point attempts.
Jodie Meeks and Xavier Henry both scored 13 points in defeat.
"They battled. We just didn't have enough," Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said. "We played with heart until we ran out of gas."
The Lakers are still without guards Steve Nash (back) and Steve Blake (elbow), while center Pau Gasol is dealing with an upper respiratory infection and missed Saturday's game. Gasol is probable against the Suns and is averaging 15.0 points and 9.4 rebounds this season.
Los Angeles, which is 6-8 on the road, has a big home matchup on tap for Christmas versus LeBron James and the two-time defending champion Miami Heat.
12/23 10:25:31 ET