The Los Angeles Lakers are looking to head into the All-Star Break on a high note. The Phoenix Suns are just trying to keep their heads above water and stay within striking distance of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. Recent history gives Coach Rick an indication of how we can load up the bankroll on Monday night.
Game: Phoenix Suns (21-32, 25-27-1 ATS) at Los Angeles Lakers (39-12, 26-24-1 ATS)
When: 10:30 PM ET, Monday, February 10, 2020
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
Current Line: LAL -13 Total: 228
TV Coverage: NBATV
Phoenix, which is six games out of the eighth spot in the Western Conference standings, will be playing its sixth game in nine days on Monday. The Suns have won just two games in their last eight, but the victories were impressive.
The Suns beat Dallas and Houston, both playoff-caliber teams. Actually, Phoenix didn’t just beat the Mavericks and the Rockets. They pounded them. The Suns beat Dallas by 29 (133-104) and beat Houston by a surprising 36 points.
Then, Phoenix did what it does best. After beating Houston on Friday night, the Suns turned around and lost to Denver 117-108 at home on Saturday. It’s the story of the Suns all season. They’re up and then they’re down.
GET UP OVERREACTS SUNS VS. LAKERS
All five Phoenix starters played at least 32 minutes on Saturday in the loss to the Nuggets. Deandre Ayton (18.7 ppg, 12.0 rpg) and Kelly Oubre Jr. (19.2 ppg, 6.7 rpg) each played 42 minutes. Bottom line is the Suns are tired. They are also hurt. Dario Saric and Aron Baynes are listed as out for Monday’s game and Ayton is listed as questionable.
The Lakers, who hold a three-game lead in the West, have won three of their last four games. They were sloppy in their most recent win, a 125-120 victory over Golden State on Saturday. The Lakers committed 24 turnovers, which almost cost them a 21-point lead in the fourth quarter.
Suns vs. Lakers Trends
Expect head coach Frank Vogel to address the Lakers’ sloppiness and get it corrected. After Phoenix on Monday, the Lakers finish the first half of the season at Denver on Wednesday. These are two huge games for Los Angeles and the Lakers cannot afford to let one slip away.
Here’s where it gets a little tricky.
The Lakers are just 3-6 ATS in their last nine games. Confidence in the Suns’ ability to cover a spread is a little shaky too. Phoenix is just 1-5 ATS in their last six games and 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games against the Lakers.
Historically, the Suns have not fared so well when playing at the Staples Center.
Phoenix has lost its last four visits to Los Angeles and lost each game by double digits. The two teams played on New Year’s Day at the Staples Center and the Lakers prevailed by 10. Los Angeles also won the other meeting with the Suns this year, a 123-115 win on the road.
All that said, the Lakers, who had seven players score in double figures on Saturday, will clean their game up and look forward to winning their final two games of the first half of the season. The Lakers will beat up on an ailing Phoenix and cover.
Today’s Free NBA Pick Against the Spread: Lakers -13
A native of Western Pennsylvania, Rick, a Generation X-er, who now lives just north of the Motor City, Detroit, Michigan. A former high school, college, and professional football player, Rick now spends his time as a high school coach and as a personal quarterback trainer. An all-state high school quarterback, he went on to become an Academic All-American at Division II Indiana University of PA. He later coached at his alma mater helping lead the program to the 1990 NCAA Division II national championship game. Rick has also served as a high school head coach and as an assistant in Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan.
His passion for sports writing started when he was the sports editor for his high school newspaper and continued when he worked as a sportswriter for the Jamestown (New York) Post-Journal in the early 1990s. A true sports fanatic, Rick enjoys all things Pittsburgh: Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins. The Immaculate Reception, the 1979 We Are Family Pirates, and the ’91-’92 Penguins are among his favorites. After working as an educator and athletic director for several years, he again took up sports writing and has contributed to several websites and publications, including Coach & Player magazine, X & O Labs, American Football Monthly, and many others.
When not consumed with coaching, watching, thinking about, or writing about football and other seasonal sports, he finds himself working out like he was still in college and reading everything from military history to Brad Thor novels. Rick has also been chasing rock god stardom as a drummer who has played with bands that have opened for the likes of Fuel, Days of the New, and Alien Ant Farm. He continues to play with his church worship group. Most importantly, Rick is married to the love of his life, Lisa, and has two beautiful daughters.