NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, April 16th (All times eastern)
Phoenix Suns (52-27) at Los Angeles Lakers (43-37), 3:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - A possible preview of a first-round matchup in the Western Conference playoffs takes place this afternoon, as the Los Angeles Lakers welcome the Phoenix Suns to the Staples Center.
The Suns are No. 2 in the West, while the Lakers, who finished 34-48 during the 2004-05 campaign and did not make the playoffs, are the seventh seed and can clinch a playoff spot with a win or a loss by Utah, which visits the Dallas Mavericks this evening.
Phoenix attempts to get back on the winning track as it plays the second of a brief two-game road trip. On Friday, Jason Richardson scored 27 points, pulled down nine rebounds and dished out five assists as the Golden State Warriors defeated the Suns, 110-102, at The Arena in Oakland.
Shawn Marion scored 31 points and grabbed 12 boards in the loss to Golden State for the Suns, while Leandro Barbosa netted 20 and Boris Diaw recorded a triple-double with 11 points, 11 rebounds and 16 assists.
Reigning MVP Steve Nash (hamstring) did not play against Golden State. He is expected to miss today's contest.
The Suns are 22-17 on the road this season. They will host the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets on Monday before ending the season on Wednesday at Portland.
Los Angeles plays the fourth of a season-ending five-game homestand. On Friday, Kobe Bryant netted 50 and in the process set the Lakers' franchise record for points in a season, as the Lakers defeated the Portland Trail Blazers, 110-99, at the Staples Center.
Bryant came into the contest with 2,704 points on the season, but his 50 points helped him surpass Elgin Baylor's franchise mark of 2,719, set during the 1962-63 campaign.
Lamar Odom recorded his second straight triple-double with 16 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists in the win over Portland for the Lakers, who have won three straight and nine of their last 12 games overall.
The Lakers, who will meet the Hornets on Wednesday at the Staples Center, are 25-14 as the host this season.
Phoenix has won all three contests between the clubs this season and has won seven in a row in this series. The Suns have won four straight after losing their last nine at the Lakers.
04/16 10:39:55 ET