When reflecting on the Grammy road trip, the Los Angeles Lakers’ players and coaches get hung up on one detail: the loss to the Phoenix Suns when the Lakers led by 13 points with 10 minutes remaining. That loss turned a 5-2 good road trip into a 4-3 satisfactory road trip.
Well, on Tuesday night, the Los Angeles Lakers can exact their revenge on the Phoenix Suns.
For the first time in two weeks, the Lakers play at Staples Center. Tuesday night is about the Lakers defending the home court and sending a message that this team is trending toward the playoffs.
And, Phoenix is a perfect sacrificial lamb.
The Suns are the worst team in the Western Conference with a 17-35 overall record. Also, the Suns have lost three in a row—to be fair, two of those losses were to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Still, the Suns have dropped seven of their last nine games, and one of those two wins came against the Lakers.
Tuesday night would normally be an easy game to look past with the Clippers cued up for Thursday and All-Star Weekend following that. However, the reflective talk after Sunday’s loss in Miami and following Monday’s practice in Los Angeles echoed the missed opportunity in Phoenix.
The Lakers owe the Suns a loss.
In Phoenix, Michael Beasley was the player who completely dismantled the Lakers late in the game. Beasley scored 27 points on the night, and 10 of those points came in the fourth quarter. The Lakers only scored 13 points in the decisive period and threw away a hard night’s work.
When the Lakers and Suns first met in mid-November, Beasley tallied only 14 points, but he also recorded a game-high nine assists. The Lakers have simply not been able to properly contain the 24-year-old forward this season.
However, even with Beasley having a good offensive night, the Lakers should be able to put together a win against the second-worst road team in the NBA: 5-22.
The Lakers may have ended the Grammy trip with a loss in Miami, but a winning road trip and a hard fought loss to the world champions appeared to instill more confidence than doubt in the Lakers. With the battle for LA looming on Thursday, Tuesday night is about gaining momentum and displaying confidence.
Mainly, though, Tuesday is about revenge.