When the Phoenix Suns came into STAPLES Center on Dec. 12, they were an impressive 8-1, yet seem fatigued coming off a five-game road trip that preceded the front end of a back-to-back on Nov. 11.
The Lakers, at that time still playing without Pau Gasol, gave the Suns no breaks and stormed to a 121-102 victory that wasn’t even that close. No Suns starter scored more than 13 points (Steve Nash), while Amare Stoudemire had a lot of trouble with Andrew Bynum’s length in converting just 2-of-15 shots from the field.
Meanwhile, L.A. got 29 points from Kobe Bryant, 26 from Bynum (who added 15 rebounds) as well as eight points, 12 rebounds and seven assists from Lamar Odom to help the Lakers win going away.
Fast forward to this Sunday, Dec. 6, when the Suns (15-5) return to STAPLES Center after suffering two straight losses on the road at New York and Cleveland before a Saturday night home win over Sacramento.
The Lakers (15-3) are on an eight-game winning streak after Kobe Bryant’s game-winning banked three-pointer sunk the Heat on Friday night.
We talked to assistant coach Brian Shaw for some insight into the matchup: