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Suns, Lakers Face Important Test for Both Teams

Mar 12, 2010 – 12:11 PM
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Brett Pollakoff

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The Lakers visit the Suns tonight, and with each squad having several days rest heading into this one, it's one of the rare times when the schedule has ensured that both teams will be on equal footing. With that in mind, this game has its fair share of importance for each of the participants.

Phoenix is on a 14-4 run over its last 18 games, playing perhaps its best basketball of the season. The only thing that's been able to slow the Suns down lately is their own fatigue, mainly when it's being felt by the team's offensive orchestrator, Steve Nash. But with the likely return of Goran Dragic to the lineup (and the possible, but unlikely return of Leandro Barbosa), Nash shouldn't be forced to play more minutes than he's comfortable with.

The Suns last played on Saturday, giving them five days to rest, repair, and prepare for this tilt against the top-seeded Lakers. L.A. last played on Tuesday, but didn't play that well, and needed a last-second bailout (yet again) from Kobe Bryant to beat the Raptors -- who are, statistically, the worst team in the league defensively.

Despite the dramatic victory that was no doubt exhilarating for the fans, not a single player on the Lakers was happy with the effort. The team is looking to flex its muscle defensively, and get some comfortable wins under its belt before the postseason run begins.

It's going to be tough to do that against a Suns team that excels on that end of the floor, and comfortably leads the league in offensive efficiency.

So, this is an important one for both teams. For the Suns, it's a chance to prove (as they did back in December) that they can protect their home floor against the league's elite. And for the Lakers, it's a chance to get back to actually playing like an elite team, instead of simply being considered as one.

The game is set for 9:00 p.m. ET, or 7:00 p.m. locally in Phoenix. Local broadcasts only for this one, or you can check it out on League Pass.
Filed under: Sports