NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, December 28th (All times eastern)
Los Angeles Lakers (24-5) at Phoenix Suns (19-12), 9 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Lakers will try to stay unbeaten in their season series with the Pacific Division-rival Phoenix Suns when the two foes get together Monday night in the desert.
Los Angeles won the first two meetings between the teams by double digits and recently handed the Suns a 108-88 loss on December 6 at Staples Center. The Lakers, who lead the Pacific Division by six games over Phoenix, have won eight of the previous 10 matchups in this series.
The Lakers got back into the win column with Saturday's 112-103 double- overtime triumph at Sacramento in the opener of a brief two-game road swing. Bryant notched a game-best 38 points, seven rebounds, four assists and four steals to help the Lakers bounce back from a Christmas Day loss to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Pau Gasol chipped in 24 points, 11 rebounds, and six blocks, while Shannon Brown added 15 points and seven rebounds off the bench for Los Angeles, which has won six of its last seven games and improved to 8-2 away from Holly wood this season. Lamar Odom ended with 13 points and 15 boards in the win.
On the injury front for LA, Bryant is probable for Monday's game with a strained right elbow and forward Ron Artest (concussion/lacerated elbow) is listed as doubtful. Artest, who did not play against the Kings, apparently fell down a set of stairs at his home on Christmas and suffered a concussion and injured his left elbow.
Phoenix has been a tough out at home and will open a three-game residency this evening versus the Lakers, Celtics and Grizzlies. It owns an 11-2 mark in the Valley of the Sun this season, but has lost three of its last four games overall. In a 132-127 setback at Golden State on Saturday, Steve Nash registered a season-high 36 points and dished out nine assists for the Suns, who were coming off a 31-point home win over the Clippers on Christmas.
Jason Richardson chipped in 22 points in the recent loss for Phoenix.
"We can't do that to anybody," Suns coach Alvin Gentry said of the miscues. "We won't beat anybody in the Pac-10 if we turn it over for 35 points."
12/28 10:32:51 ET