NBA 18-20/03/2022: LA Lakers, Phoenix Suns, Utah Jazz and Chicago Bulls all on the floor
There were some fascinating tussles last weekend, with the San Antonio Spurs squeezing past the Utah Jazz, while the Miami Heat were stunned by the Minnesota Timberwolves. Anyway, we can’t wait for the weekend to roll around, and there are three big games to look forward to, including Toronto Raptors v Los Angeles Lakers, and the Phoenix Suns v Chicago Bulls. Read our preview below.
Toronto Raptors live up to their unpredictability tag
The Raptors are in many ways one of the NBA’s biggest enigmas. Only a few years ago, they lifted the title, and while they haven’t been travelling too badly to this season, you just never quite know what to expect. They fell apart against the Orlando Magic and the Detroit Pistons recently, but then they followed that up with three victories on the trot.
Over the weekend, they clinched a surprise win over the Suns before they romped to a 12-point victory over the Denver Nuggets. The bench lineup came good, especially Scottie Barnes, and he stole the show. The way he drained a triple to open the fourth quarter was mesmerising, and he finished the game with 25 points, eight rebounds, and 10 assists.
Los Angeles Lakers feel the heat against Phoenix Suns
The Lakers came up very short against the Suns as they were on the wrong end of a 140-111 scoreline. It was Devin Booker who caused most of the damage, as he weighed in with 30 points and 10 assists. As things stand, the Lakers are ninth in the Western Conference, with a 29-38 record to boot.
LeBron James makes history for LA Lakers in Suns defeat
While there may have been little cause for celebration for the Lakers fans against the Suns, it was a memorable night for LeBron James. The 37-year-old has become the first player in NBA history to manage at least 30,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, and 10,000 assists. Against the Suns, he managed a team-high of 31 points, and he’s not showing any signs of slowing down.
Phoenix Suns put Toronto Raptors blemish to back of their minds
As mentioned, the Suns put in a terrific performance against the Lakers this weekend. It was a good response after the shock loss at the hands of the Raptors, and while there’s still many games to be played, the Suns could be serious NBA contenders come the playoffs. Currently, the Suns are top of the Western Conference with a 79.4% win record.
Chicago Bulls still on the charge
The Bulls have been a joy to watch for large chunks of the campaign, and they are neatly tucked in fourth spot in the Eastern Conference. Although the Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks are just ahead of the Bulls, you can’t take your eyes off the Bulls for a single second. Last weekend, they were impressive against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
DeMar DeRozan came to the fore once again, as he posted 25 points, and he was well supported by Nikola Vucevic, who managed 20 points and 14 rebounds during his 34-minute spell on the floor. After three defeats on the spin earlier this month, the Bulls have dug in deep recently to turn things around.
Meanwhile, the Bulls will no doubt be doing their homework, and they will have learned a lot from the Suns’ win over the Lakers. If they can cut off the supply to Booker, then the Bulls could well end up running out comfortable winners. Either way, the Suns v Bulls on Friday evening will make for compelling viewing.
Utah Jazz hoping to inflict more misery on New York Knicks
The Jazz are still in the mix near the top of the Western Conference, and although March has so far brought about some unexpected defeats, such as the 111-103 loss to the Dallas Mavericks, they were at their best in the 134-125 win over the Sacramento Kings. The Knicks have struggled for most of the season, and the Jazz should cruise to victory.