NBA 2021/22 on Wednesday, 12/22/2021
The omicron variety is turning the NBA upside down at the moment. Many games were cancelled over Christmas and over 80 players are now in quarantine, – but one top game will most likely still take place.
It is the match between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Phoenix Suns, which only looks like a real cracker on paper. Because the home side is missing some important elements…
The Los Angeles Lakers game stands and falls with their two superstars Anthony Davis and LeBron James. And as long as both were healthy, things were looking up for the Californians in recent weeks.
After all, Los Angeles won six of its last ten games and scored an average of 108.5 points per game. But since last weekend at the latest, a renewed downward trend has become clear and obvious.
In the defeat against the Bulls, Anthony Davis had to take a break due to the injury he suffered against the Timberwolves. The result was a 115-110 in favour of Chicago, who – due to the absence – were a little more assertive in the half-court.
Anthony Davis will now also be out against the Suns and that doesn’t promise to end well. Especially since it will make the Californians’ game even more dependent on LeBron James – who delivers – but seems to be having increasingly serious conditioning problems.
During the first 15 years of his career, “The King” was absent from a total of 71 games, which is exactly as many as during the last four seasons in a purple jersey.
But there will be no relief from the bench on Wednesday. In addition to Anthony Davis, Talen Horton-Tucker, Dwight Howard, Avery Bradley, Malik Monk, Kent Bazemore and Kendrick Nunn, all of whom bring a breath of fresh air, are also out for the home side.
The Suns, meanwhile, are more than relaxed about the task ahead. With a record of 24-5, they are currently the best the NBA has to offer. Currently, Arizona is even riding a small winning streak.
After a narrow victory over the Trail Blazers, the purple and black team presented itself to the fans in absolute top form in its last two triumphs over the Wizards (118:98) and the Hornets (137:106). Will victory number four follow?
But another reason why I’m predicting a small victory against the Lakers has to do not only with the absences on the side of the home side, but also with the experiences from the last encounters.
If we take a look at the most recent head-to-head duels between the two franchises, it quickly becomes clear why many American sports media now believe that the Suns have overtaken the Lakers.
Arizona has won each of the last five NBA games against its rival – two of them in the current season alone! The lead was over nine points in each of the last two triumphs!
But the crowning glory is yet to come: Anthony Davis was still one of the top scorers for the purple yellows in these October games with 19 and 22 points respectively – and yet the Suns knew how to successfully hold their ground in both cases.
The Lakers were not able to survive against the Arizonans even “with” Anthony Davis – without him, the chances of victory in the upcoming rematch of last year’s playoff duel should be even lower.
And indeed: American and German bookmakers are trading a win for the home side at around 3.30. A Suns win, on the other hand, is currently being traded at odds of around 1.30 and is thus considered much more likely!
Conclusion: The Suns are in the form of their lives! They also have a record of (12-1) against teams that have won more games than they have lost. The home side are in that category of teams (16-15), but probably not for long.
That’s because Anthony Davis will be out, along with many seasoned bench players, which will make everything much more dependent on LeBron James. But the NBA legend, despite strong performances, has been struggling more and more with conditional problems.
Moreover, the Arizonans already won both season games against the Lakers by more than nine points – and that despite Anthony Davis conjuring up good performances on the floor at this point.
Given this starting position, I have no choice but to assume in my Lakers Suns tip that the visitors will win by at least five points.