NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, December 10th (All times eastern)
Phoenix Suns (13-9) at Los Angeles Lakers (17-3), 10:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The two top teams in the Pacific Division square off Wednesday when the Shaq-less Phoenix Suns travel to Hollywood to take on the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Suns earned their second straight win on Tuesday when former Laker Shaquille O'Neal continued his resurgent season with a season-high 35-point, eight-rebound effort, and Phoenix continued its dominance over the Milwaukee Bucks with a 125-110 victory.
O'Neal, who hasn't averaged over 20 points a game since the 2005-06 season with Miami, shot 14-of-19 from the field in Phoenix' 21st straight home win over the Bucks.
Amare Stoudemire tallied 22 points and eight rebounds, while Steve Nash had 19 points and 10 assists for the Suns, who have won two in a row after losing four straight. Leandro Barbosa scored 15 points, while Raja Bell had 14 in the win.
The Suns will aim for a similar performance minus O'Neal on Wednesday at Staples Center. The veteran center, who is averaging of 14.3 points and 8.4 rebounds per game this season, will miss tonight's game due to the death of his 92-year-old great-grandmother. O'Neal is expected to be back for the team's game on Friday against the Orlando Magic.
The Lakers, meanwhile, are coming off their worst loss of the year, a 113-101 drubbing at the hands of the hapless Kings in Sacramento.
Sacramento's John Salmons and Francisco Garcia each scored 21 points as the Kings snapped an eight-game skid and avoided losing their ninth consecutive game at home for the first time in franchise history.
Kobe Bryant had 28 points, but went just 9-of-25 from the field, as the Lakers (17-3) lost for the first time in four games.
Pau Gasol chipped in 25 points and 12 rebounds for the Lakers, who suffered their worst loss of the season. They were beaten at home by Detroit, 106-95, on November 14 and then dropped a 118-117 decision at Indiana on December 2.
LA, which is 10-1 at Staples Center this season, has won two straight, including a 105-92 win in Phoenix on November 20, and four of its last five against the Suns, who are 7-4 on the road this season.
12/10 10:24:05 ET