Entering his 21st season, LeBron James finds himself on a fresh platform as the Los Angeles Lakers take on the Phoenix Suns in a quarterfinal matchup of the NBA in-season tournament on Tuesday.
Guiding the Lakers to an unblemished 4-0 record during the group-stage phase of the inaugural tournament, James played a pivotal role in securing the top seed in the West as they head into the win-and-advance quarterfinals. The victor of Tuesday’s matchup will go on to challenge the winner between the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings in Thursday’s semifinals in Las Vegas.
In Los Angeles’ 107-97 triumph over the Houston Rockets on Saturday, James demonstrated that his tenacity remains undiminished. He executed a spirited 360-degree reverse layup by backing into the lane and engaged in a verbal altercation with Rockets coach Ime Udoka in the fourth quarter, resulting in a technical foul for James. Udoka was subsequently ejected from the game.
Where to watch Los Angeles Lakers vs Phoenix Suns
- Date: December 5, 2023
- Time: 10 PM ET
- Place: Los Angeles, CA
- Venue: Crypto.com Arena
- TV channel: Spectrum SportsNet
- Live stream: Fubo TV
- NBA League Pass
For the Lakers, Vincent will not be playing the game due to a knee injury. For the Suns, Beal and Lee will not be available for the game due to back and knee injury. Besides, Gordon might also not play the game for the Suns due to a knee injury.
As of Monday, there’s uncertainty surrounding James’ availability for the Phoenix game due to a left calf contusion. In their in-season tournament group-stage debut, the Lakers secured a hard-fought 122-119 win at Phoenix on November 10. Overcoming a seven-point deficit in the fourth quarter was imperative for Los Angeles, breaking a three-game losing streak.
Since their defeat against the Lakers, the Suns have emerged victorious in eight out of their last 10 games, embarking on an impressive seven-game winning streak. This remarkable run contributed to their solid 3-1 record in West Group A play.
Heading into the tournament quarterfinals, Phoenix carries the momentum from a 116-109 home triumph against the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday. During this game, Devin Booker showcased his skills with an impressive performance, accumulating 34 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists.
Since making a comeback from an early-season calf injury, Booker has showcased his prowess in nine games, boasting an average of 27.1 points and 7.9 assists. However, he opted to sit out Friday’s game against the Denver Nuggets in the first leg of a back-to-back set, contributing to the Suns’ 119-111 loss.
The Suns continue to anticipate the moment when they can witness the synergy of stars Kevin Durant, Bradley Beal, and Booker sharing the court simultaneously. Unfortunately, Beal, grappling with a back injury, has only participated in three games, and he is set to remain on the sidelines come Tuesday.
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