Lakers-Suns Preview

The surprising Phoenix Suns continue to ride outstanding

long-distance shooting during their best stretch of the season.

They might have a difficult time keeping it going against one of

the top perimeter defenses in the league.

The red-hot Suns seek their eighth win in nine games Monday

night when they take on the Kobe Bryant-less Los Angeles Lakers,

who also could be without Pau Gasol.

Phoenix (16-10) matched its season-best with 15 3-pointers – on

30 attempts – en route to a season-high point total in a 123-109

victory over visiting Dallas on Saturday.

Eric Bledsoe led the way with 25 points and shot 9 of 12 with

three 3-pointers, while Gerald Green scored 22 with four 3s and

Channing Frye added 18 and went 4 of 6 from beyond the arc.

Green has been one of the hottest Suns, going 10 for 22 on 3s in

his last two games. Frye has hit 16 of 25 from behind the arc over

his last five.

“If you share the ball, then everybody gets a feeling of

confidence that is way up,” guard Goran Dragic said. “We are

shooting the ball well. This is so much fun, playing like that.

Everybody is on the same page and when we play like that I think

it’s hard to stop us.”

The Suns have made 45.4 percent of their 3-pointers in their

last five games. They’ve made at least seven 3-pointers in 18

consecutive contests.

Phoenix has averaged 108.3 points while winning seven of eight

to move a season-best six games above .500.

The Lakers (13-14) have held their last 11 opponents to 31.4

shooting from 3-point range. They limited Phoenix to 7 of 23 from

beyond the arc Dec. 10, though it hardly mattered as the Suns made

51.8 percent overall on the way to a 114-108 road win.

Dragic led the way with 31 points, while Marcus Morris had

22.

The Suns’ Eric Bledsoe has been playing well at home, scoring

23.0 per game and shooting 55.9 percent in his last four there.

Bryant is out at least six weeks with a fracture in his left

knee, while Gasol is questionable due to an upper respiratory

condition that forced him out of a 102-83 loss to Golden State on

Saturday. It was the first time Gasol has sat out this season as

the Lakers fell to 11-10 without Bryant.

Steve Nash, Steve Blake and Jordan Farmar also are expected to

miss this contest for the Lakers.

Nick Young tried to pick up the slack with 20 points Saturday.

He’s averaged 21.5 points and hit 13 of 25 from 3-point range in

his last four games.

Filling in for Gasol, Chris Kaman grabbed 17 rebounds but shot 5

of 17 for 10 points as the Lakers made a season-low 32.5 percent in

playing the second of back-to-back games.

“They battled,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “We just didn’t have

enough.”

Los Angeles has dropped four straight at Phoenix by an average

of 15.2 points.