Suns return home to play against Lakers as In-Season Tournament begins
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Following a three-game road trip, the Phoenix Suns return home on Friday to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. The game will also be the Suns’ first game in the NBA’s new In-Season Tournament format. The action starts at 8 p.m. Arizona time, and you can watch it on 3TV and Arizona’s Family Sports network. To find out how to watch, click/tap here.
Phoenix dropped the first game of their recent road trip in Philadelphia before ending with wins over Detroit and Chicago to even their season record at 4-4. The Lakers have lost three straight to fall to 3-5 and are currently in last place in the Pacific division. All five of the Lakers’ losses have come on the road.
The Suns will again be without their full “Big Three,” as star guard Devin Booker remains out with a calf strain. This will be Booker’s seventh missed game of the year. However, Phoenix will have stars Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal in the lineup. Durant is fifth in the NBA in scoring at 29.3 points per game, and Beal—a three-time NBA All-Star and offseason acquisition—scored 13 points in 24 minutes in his season debut on Wednesday against Chicago.
For the Lakers, injuries have hampered their season to date. While the 38-year-old James has played every game—averaging a team-high 24.4 points per game—forward Anthony Davis missed their last game and his status against the Suns remains uncertain. Davis is averaging 23.9 points and 12 rebounds per game.
Friday’s game will be the first game of group play of the In-Season Tournament for both teams. A new addition to this season, the In-Season Tournament’s initial phase divided the league into six groups of five teams, with each team playing the others in their group, with two home and two road games. These group games will be played on designated “Tournament Nights,” which will take place every Tuesday and Friday from Nov. 3 through the 28. The six group winners, along with one wild card from each conference will advance to the knockout stage. The quarterfinals will take place on Dec. 4 and 5, with the semifinals and championship game taking place in Las Vegas on Dec. 7 and 9. The remaining Suns’ In-Season Tournament games will come Nov. 17 at Utah, at home against Portland on Nov. 21, and at Memphis on Nov. 24.
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