Lakers vs Suns Odds, Picks, and Predictions Tonight: LeBron Duels KD, Booker in Phoenix

LeBron James is fetching a point total of just 23.5 in Phoenix despite averaging 25.5 over his last 10 games. Against a long-time rival in Kevin Durant, our NBA betting picks expect him to be at his best on Sunday.

Feb 25, 2024 • 09:23 ET • 4 min read
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The Western Conference bloodbath continues Sunday, February 25 as the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns face off with both teams desperate for a win. 

The Suns are losers of two straight against other West opponents, while the Lakers are just 2.5 games behind Phoenix in the standings and are desperate to climb out of the play-in part of the bracket.

A win by L.A. puts them in a virtual dead heat with the Suns, who are trying to stay afloat amid injury woes for Bradley Beal. The NBA odds for today’s game favor the Suns in a high-scoring affair, but I think one superstar is going to outshine the rest.

My NBA picks and predictions for Lakers vs. Suns expect LeBron James to keep running up the score against Father Time with a strong offensive showing on Sunday.

Lakers vs Suns odds

Lakers vs Suns predictions

It is always a special event when LeBron James and Kevin Durant clash. 

Before this season, it had been five years since the two generational superstars last faced off, and with both guys in the back nine of their illustrious careers, I’m banking on a throwback LeBron performance for my Sunday best bet.

“He’s picking his spots” is a basketball cliche as old as the game itself, but in LeBron’s 21st season, he’s cut the fat all the way out of his offensive game. While he can’t go full attack mode for long stretches of every game, LeBron is getting to the rim more than he has since the 2020-21 season and he’s cut down his long midrange attempts to career-low levels.

LeBron is averaging 25.5 points over his last 10 and has 24+ in seven of his last 10 games. Yet the LeBron James odds for Sunday are pegging him at just 23.5, with little juice on the Over. That suggests oddsmakers believe this is an unfavorable matchup for LeBron, but I think just the opposite.

The Phoenix Suns may be a Frank Vogel team, but they are far from an elite defense. The Suns' metrics look halfway decent, and they’re ranked 14th in defensive rating, per Cleaning the Glass, but they’re getting some luck with opponent 3-point shooting.

Suns opponents are shooting just 35.9% on corner threes, and Phoenix does little to influence those shots. If not for that bit of luck, they might slip into Bottom-10 territory.

LeBron’s shooting is near career highs this season. He’s shooting 40% on both corner threes and triples from above the break, his preferred perimeter spot. All in all, he’s scoring 123.5 points per 100 possessions, an elite mark, and still at superstar usage levels.

And the Phoenix interior defense is squishy. Jusuf Nurkic is a big body, but injuries have sapped his mobility quite a bit. He was never an elite rim protector to begin with, but even at LeBron’s advanced age, he can hit a gear with his burst that Nurkic will have little answer for.

LeBron has a sense of his own basketball mortality. He knows he won’t be playing this game in a few years. He clearly values the battles he has left against rivals and all-time greats like Durant and rising stars like Devin Booker. 

I expect LeBron to put on a show when the Lakers visit Phoenix on Sunday.

My best bet: LeBron James Over 23.5 points (-115 at bet365)

Lakers vs Suns same-game parlay

LeBron James Over 23.5 points

Jusuf Nurkic Under 10.5 points

Kevin Durant Over 6.5 rebounds

One of the reasons many people were skeptical of the trade that brought Nurkic to the Suns is his weakness as a finisher. Despite being a legit 7-footer, Nurkic shoots just 60% at the rim.

Against Anthony Davis, I expect him to be walled off from the hoop almost entirely. When he scores, it will be short jumpers in the paint, and the Suns know they can’t win if they go to that well too often. 

There's also real potential that AD puts the Bosnian Beast into foul trouble early. Nurkic has scored 10 points or fewer in five of his last six games.

Durant has been one of the few reliable players for this rollercoaster of a Suns team. It might be worrying for Phoenix’s title chances just how much they have to rely on Durant to play heavy minutes, but he’s answered the call with aplomb so far.

And it extends far beyond scoring. He's being increasingly called upon to play small-ball five when Nurkic sits and is often the tallest player on the floor even when playing as a nominal forward. That means Durant is invested with the responsibility of crashing the glass and getting rebounds in volume.

KD is averaging just shy of eight rebounds per game (7.9) in his last 10 games and has had 8+ in five of his last seven.

Learn how to bet a same-game parlay with these helpful tips and strategies.

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Lakers vs Suns spread and Over/Under analysis

Oddsmakers have some disagreements over how to value the spread on Sunday, with the line coming in anywhere between -3.5 to -5 in favor of Phoenix.

The Lakers' most notable win in their last several games was a 17-point victory over the Pelicans. That’s a nice win, but their point differential is being buttressed by victories over the Spurs, Jazz, and Pistons. They’ve lost, often badly, to most of the good teams they’ve played. They’re also just 12-17 against the spread on the road.

The Suns are (perpetually) banged up, but they’re still a good team. They have not been an inspiring home team, however. They’re only 11-17-1 ATS at home.

One might think that the Lakers' older roster would struggle with games with only a single day's rest in between, but they’re 20-16 in such scenarios. It’s the Suns who have been getting killed in such games, with a 12-19-1 record ATS.

Early money has come in on the Under, which has seen the total for Lakers vs. Suns drop from 239.5 to 237.5 at most sportsbooks.

The Suns are a dynamic offense at full strength but their problem is they are just so thin. They play really well whenever they can have two of KD, Booker, and Bradley Beal on the floor. When all three are healthy, that’s 48 minutes of the game. 

But when one is out as Beal is again now, they go long stretches with KD or Booker playing as a virtual one-man band. 

Opposing defenses just blitz, hedge, or double them then and force other Suns players to beat them. That puts a lot on the likes of Grayson Allen, Eric Gordon, Royce O’Neal, and Nurkic. Most decent teams can beat an offense that is built out of shots by those players. 

The Lakers' defense can slow down this version of the Suns, so I understand why the total has already fallen two points. Even though the Suns are a team that generates the majority of its offense off jump shots, as we saw in the playoffs against the Warriors, Davis will still make an impact on defense.

Lakers vs Suns betting trend to know

The Lakers are 12-17 ATS on the road. Find more NBA betting trends for Lakers vs. Suns.

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Lakers vs Suns game info

Location: Footprint Center, Phoenix, AZ
Date: Sunday, February 25, 2024
Tip-off: 3:30 p.m. ET
TV: ABC

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