TV: League Pass
- Bernie Bickerstaff will serve as interim coach of the Lakers for one last game when L.A. hosts the Suns tonight at Staples Center. Bickerstaff took over as interim coach after Mike Brown was fired last Friday. The Lakers hired Mike D’Antoni two days later but he’s still recovering from knee surgery and will view the game on TV in a back room. The Lakers have gone 2-1 with Bickerstaff calling the shots.
- Lakers point guard Steve Blake will miss his second straight game with a strained lower abdomen. Blake had moved into the starting lineup after Steve Nash went down with a non-displaced fracture in his lower left leg. Nash is expected to be out another week. Darius Morris will get another start but expect Kobe Bryant to play some minutes at point guard, as he did down the stretch in an 82-80 loss Tuesday against the visiting Spurs. Morris struggled against San Antonio, missing all five field-goal attempts and three of four free throws. He finished with one point and one assist in 21 minutes.
- Phoenix back-up power forward Markieff Morris is questionable after suffering a bruised back in Wednesday’s overtime loss to the Bulls. Morris came down hard while trying to secure an offensive rebound late in regulation. Markieff is averaging 7.1 points and 5.0 rebounds. If he can’t play, the Suns may turn to Jermaine O’Neal off the bench. O’Neal missed five consecutive games while tending to a family matter, then returned against the Bulls but didn’t play. Luke Zeller, a rookie from Notre Dame who has appeared in just two games this season, could also see increased playing time.
- Ball security could be a key factor in this game. The Lakers lead the league in turnovers at 18 a game, a number that has swelled with the absence of Nash the last six games. The Suns are tied with Memphis for the second-fewest turnovers in the NBA (13.3). The Knicks, the league’s only remaining undefeated team, leads the league in fewest giveaways at 10.2 a game.
– Dan Arritt