Phoenix At L.A. Lakers
When: 10:30 PM
ET, Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
Kobe Bryant’s return engagement was quite the flop, and the ultracompetitive superstar strives to perform better when the Los Angeles Lakers host the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday. Bryant scored just nine points on 2-of-9 shooting and committed eight turnovers as the Lakers lost to the Toronto Raptors on Sunday in his first outing since tearing his Achilles’ tendon last April. Bryant admitted he was rusty and said his rhythm was “completely out of sync.”
Bryant played 28 minutes in his season debut and coach Mike D’Antoni would like to keep him in that range as Bryant attempts to regain his form. “It’s like chopping a tree,” Bryant said. “One swing of the ax is not going to get it done. You just have to keep at it, keep at it, keep at it and keep at it and stay focused internally on what you have to do to improve.” The Suns have posted back-to-back victories and haven’t played since earning a 106-97 win over the Raptors last Friday.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, FSN Arizona (Phoenix), TWC SportsNet (Los Angeles)
ABOUT THE SUNS (11-9): Reserve forward Markieff Morris is flourishing in his third season and had a huge performance in the victory over Toronto with 25 points on 11-of-14 shooting to go with 11 rebounds. Morris has scored 23 or more five times and is averaging 12.9 points while playing with more confidence and displaying improved versatility. “He is able to take a big guy and if a guy gets up on him, he is able to drive by him,” Phoenix coach Jeff Hornacek said. “If he steps off him, he is a good shooter from that 15- to 18-foot range. He is being smart about when to drive it or when to shoot it.”
ABOUT THE LAKERS (10-10): Bryant’s return didn’t prevent a season-long pattern of stellar production from the bench. The Los Angeles reserves scored 71 points against the Raptors to increase their league-leading average to 48.1 per game. All five reserves that played scored in double figures, led by Nick Young’s 19 points. “We’re going to have to carry Kobe a little bit, because of course he’s not 100 percent and not in game shape,” said swingman Xavier Henry, who scored 17 points. “It’s going to be fun. It’s a long year and he’s just getting back.”
1. The Lakers have won nine of their last 10 home games against the Suns.
2. Los Angeles C Pau Gasol has failed to reach double digits in two of the past three games and is shooting just 29.3 percent during the stretch.
3. Suns guard Eric Bledsoe has six 20-point outings this season after hitting the mark just four times in three seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers.
PREDICTION: Lakers 104, Suns 100
Stats and Records
L.A. Lakers Off vs
101.0 Points For
99.5 Points Against