NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, April 7th (All times eastern)
Los Angeles Lakers (35-21) at Phoenix Suns (28-27), 10 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Pacific Division rivals renew hostilities in the desert Saturday when the Los Angeles Lakers pay a visit to the Phoenix Suns.
The Lakers saw their division lead over the Clippers shrink to 1 1/2 games on Friday after the team fell at Staples Center to Houston, 112-107.
Bothered by bruised right shin that caused him to miss the morning shootaround, Kobe Bryant still managed a game-high 28 points but connected on just 8-of-20 shots and failed to record an assist for the first time this season.
Metta World Peace had 23 and Pau Gasol finished with 14 points, 10 rebounds and five assists for the Lakers, who had their four-game win streak snapped.
Andrew Bynum had 19 points, seven rebounds and two blocks before getting ejected from the game early in the fourth quarter after receiving his second technical foul.
"We told him at the half, 'You have one [technical] don't pick up a second' and he went out and got it. It's not right," Lakers head coach Mike Brown said about the enigmatic Bynum.
LA, which is opening up a three-game road trip on Saturday that will also include visits to New Orleans and San Antonio, is just 12-15 as the visitor on the season.
Phoenix, meanwhile, failed in am important to attempt to boost its playoff hopes on Friday, losing in Denver 105-99.
Shannon Brown scored 18 points, Jared Dudley had 17 and Steve Nash contributed 14 points and 11 assists for the Suns, who started the day one game behind the Nuggets for the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference, but had a three-game win streak stopped to remain on the outside looking in at the postseason picture with 11 games to go.
The Suns committed 16 turnovers, while the Nuggets had just five.
"That's the key to the game right there," said Denver's Aaron Afflalo, who scored 30 points. "We've got a lot of playmakers, and mistakes are a part of basketball, but if you can limit them especially to a number like that, it'll put you in a good position."
The home team has won all three meetings between these clubs this season but the Lakers have won six of eight overall versus the Suns.
04/07 10:43:04 ET