The Los Angeles Lakers and the Phoenix Suns will be squaring off tonight.
The last time these two met was on January 30 in Phoenix, ending in a 92-86 Suns victory.
This is a game Los Angeles can’t afford to lose if they want to keep their playoff hopes alive.
While the Lakers have not played up to their potential this season, they are still talented enough to take down the Suns.
Here are the key match ups for tonight.
Steve Nash vs. Goran Dragic
Dragic was Nash’s back-up in Phoenix, so in a sense this is a student vs. teacher duel. Dragic is averaging career highs in both scoring, 14.2 PPG, and assists, 6.3 this season.
Nash didn’t play in the Lakers’ win against the Suns on November 16 and has only his 11 points, two assists and two turnovers performance from January 30 to look back on.
Dragic, on the other hand, has been on fire against the Lakers this season. In the first game of the season series, he had 22 points and seven assists, despite the loss.
Two weeks ago, he contributed 11 points and eight assists.
Stopping Dragic will be the key to victory for the Lakers.
Dwight Howard vs. Marcin Gortat
This is another battle between former teammates.
Gortat got the better of Howard last time they met. While Howard had two more rebounds than Gortat, he re-injured himself and couldn’t match the Suns center’s double-double.
Gortat’s last two games, both against Oklahoma City, weren’t exactly a confidence boost. He could only come up with six and two points respectively.
Kobe Bryant vs. Jared Dudley
Dudley is going to be tasked with the job every Lakers opponent has dreaded since 1996.
He’s going to be guarding Kobe Bryant.
In recent days, there have been plenty of trade rumors involving Dudley, and it will be interesting to see how this affects his preparation going into the game.
Kobe Bryant continues to defy age and is putting together one of his best seasons.
He could be headed for a big game tonight with upwards of 30 points.