Before the Lakers beat the Suns 114-106 in the second game of the season in the Valley of the Sun, we took a look at just how difficult Phoenix’s schedule is, in contrast to the relatively soft schedule of the Lakers.
As it has turned out, Phoenix has managed to go .500 through eight games, falling at Portland, against L.A., against San Antonio and at Memphis, while managing to beat Memphis and Sacramento at home and Utah and Atlanta on the road.
Unfortunately for the Suns, at least in the short term, the schedule doesn’t get any easier through the month of November, starting with Sunday’s trip to Los Angeles, which precedes a home game against Denver and then a tough stretch on the road through Miami, Orlando, Charlotte and Houston.
As for Sunday’s game, here’s some background info on the series between the two Pacific Division opponents:
- The Lakers have won three consecutive season series against the Suns, each by a 3-1 margin.
- This will be the 215th meeting between the two teams with the Lakers leading the all-time series 126-88. The Lakers are 16-6 against the Suns all- time at STAPLES Center during the regular season and 7-3 in their last 10 regular season home games against Phoenix.
- Jason Richardson has played very well for the Suns, continuing his good form from the playoffs, leading the team with 21.7 points per game while adding 4.3 rebounds and making over three three-pointers a game.
- Steve Nash leads the team with 8.9 assists while adding 18.7 points per game.
- Newcomer Hedo Turkoglu has struggled, averaging 10.1 points on 44 percent shooting, and the Suns have gotten little production out of the center position between Robin Lopez and Channing Frye, who’ve combined for only 10 points and 10 rebounds.
- On the road, the Lakers have gone 5-5 in their last 10 regular season visits to Phoenix and are 5-2 in their last seven regular season games at US Airways Center.
- Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are 27-14 against the Suns during the regular season. – In 50 career games against the Suns including 43 starts, Kobe Bryant is averaging 25.8 points.
- Suns guard Jason Richardson and forward Jared Dudley were teammates in Charlotte with Shannon Brown while Lakers forward Luke Walton and Suns center Channing Frye were teammates at Arizona for two seasons (2001-02, 2002-03).
- Also, Suns assistant coach Bill Cartwright won three championships as a center for Phil Jackson’s Bulls from 1990-92 and served as an assistant coach under Jackson from 1996-98 when the Bulls won their final two championships of the 90’s.