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NBA Preview from The Sports Network

Friday, November 19th (All times eastern)

Los Angeles Lakers (5-4) at Phoenix Suns (6-2), 9 p.m.

(Sports Network) - Pacific Division teams battle tonight, as the Phoenix Suns welcome Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers to America West Arena.

The Suns' early season success continued on Wednesday night, as they posted a 95-84 victory over the New Orleans Hornets at New Orleans Arena. Phoenix, which improved to 5-1 on the road and 6-2 overall, is off to its best start since the 2000-01 season when the Suns were 7-1 at the same point.

Amare Stoudemire scored 27 of his career high-tying 38 points in the second half to lead Phoenix to the win over the Hornets. In the last two games, Stoudemire is averaging 36 points and eight rebounds. For the year, Stoudemire is mustering 27.6 points and 8.9 rebounds per contest.

Shawn Marion chipped in 23 points and nine rebounds in Wednesday's victory for Phoenix, while point guard Steve Nash collected 16 points and 12 assists for the Suns.

Phoenix is 1-1 as the host this season.

LA comes into tonight's contest on a two-game winning streak. On Wednesday, Bryant had a great all-around game with 23 points, 11 assists and five steals to lead the Lakers to a 103-89 victory over the visiting Clippers at the Staples Center.

Chucky Atkins added 17 points and dished out seven assists in Wednesday's win for the Lakers, who have defeated their in-city rivals 14 of the last 15 times as the home team. Chris Mihm chipped in 15 points, while Caron Butler had 14 in the win.

Bryant has scored 20 or more points in eight of the Lakers' nine games this season. After nine contests, Bryant leads the Lakers in scoring (27.7 ppg) and assists (5.3 apg).

Last season, the Lakers won three of the four contests with the Suns. Overall, the road team has won three of four and four of the last six meetings in this series. The Lakers have won three straight after losing their last four at Phoenix.

11/19 10:15:00 ET

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