Devin Booker and the Suns host the Lakers Sunday. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire)
- The Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns matchup on March 21st
- LeBron James (ankle) and Anthony Davis (Achilles) are out for the reigning champions
- Get the latest Lakers vs Suns odds, betting preview and a pick below
The Lakers and Suns meet on March 21st. With no LeBron James or Anthony Davis, the Suns are hefty favorites. Phoenix has been one of the form teams in the Association, and enters this game with a relatively clean bill of health. Cameron Johnson is the only question mark – the second-year forward is day-to-day through health and safety protocols.
Los Angeles is on the second night of a back-to-back. After James left the game with a high ankle sprain in the second quarter, the Lakers fell to the Atlanta Hawks. Frank Vogel’s team is currently third in the Western Conference.
Lakers vs Suns Odds
|Los Angeles Lakers||+8.5 (-110)||+310||Ov 214 (-110)|
|Phoenix Suns||-8.5 (-110)||-390||Un 214 (-110)|
Odds taken on Mar 21 at FanDuel
The Lakers’ offense has been inconsistent even with LeBron James. Dennis Schroder’s production has been up and down. The same can be said of Kyle Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell. Los Angeles sits 21st in offensive rating over the last 15 games, and turnovers have plagued them. Only five teams have a higher turnover rate over that span.
James’ on/off numbers have been spectacular once again. The Lakers are 7.5 points per 100 possessions better on offense with him on the court. They are 3.4 points per 100 possessions better on the defensive end. The team’s turnover and assist rates are markedly improved with LeBron on the court, and their team effective field goal percentage is above 56% compared to 51.3% without the four-time MVP.
Nothing angers and saddens me more than not being available to and for my teammates! I’m hurt inside and out right now. 🤦🏾♂️. The road back from recovery begins now. Back soon like I never left. #ThekidfromAKRON🤴🏾
— LeBron James (@KingJames) March 21, 2021
There is a limited sample of the Lakers without LeBron. He’s only missed one game until now, when the reigning champions fell to the Sacramento Kings before the All-Star break. The numbers do not look good for the Lakers without James, though. Phoenix ranks fourth in defensive rating and should make it very difficult for the Lakers to generate offense.
Suns Quietly Keep Winning
While the Lakers have languished in the bottom-10 offensively over the last 15, the Suns own the best net rating in the NBA. They are on an 11-4 run, second in offense and fifth in defense. Phoenix is a proper two-way team.
A force to be reckoned with pic.twitter.com/vItc0KCfcS
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) March 19, 2021
Just like every Chris Paul team, they look after the ball well, too. They are second in the NBA in assist-to-turnover ratio for the season. Keeping the turnover count low will be particularly important against this restricted Lakers offense – there won’t be many easy buckets in transition for Harrell, Kuzma and co.
Congratulations, Chris Paul, on the latest milestone 🙌 pic.twitter.com/8AM0A9DSFa
— Suns Nation (@SunsNationCP) March 19, 2021
The Suns limit opponent three-point looks, ranking fourth in percentage of opponent shots from beyond. They are fifth in halfcourt defense, and rank among the best teams in the league at preventing offensive rebounds, an area the Lakers can be dangerous in with Kuzma and Harrell crashing the glass.
Phoenix is a well-coached, efficient team. This is a game they’re expected to win, and it’s hard to imagine any other outcome.
Back The Suns
Phoenix leads the league with a 27-13 ATS record on the season. They have covered in 21 of their 32 games as favorites,
The Lakers are -1.5 in net rating when LeBron is off the court. The Suns haven’t got the attention they have deserved in recent weeks, but they have kept picking up wins, gaining ground in the Western Conference standings. This is an accomplished roster, mixing experience of Chris Paul and Jae Crowder with the top-end young talents like Devin Booker and Mikal Bridges.
Phoenix is deserving of such a large spread. They have made a habit of blowing teams out recently, recording nine of their last 10 wins by nine or more points. Another emphatic win is likely on Sunday against a Lakers team searching for an identity in the absence of its two stars.
Pick: Phoenix Suns -8.5 (-110)
Sam Cox is a freelance writer and sports junkie, who has spent the past several years immersed in the online gaming industry. He has worked with 888sport, Oddschecker, and Colossus Bets to name a few. Based in the UK, Sam also runs Franchise Sports with his brother.