No NBA team has played more in the season's first two weeks than the Lakers, who have used a home-heavy early season schedule to claim its usual spot at the top of the division standings.
But, with Phil Jackson retired and Lamar Odom in Dallas things have been tougher than ever. LA is 6-1 at home on the campaign but still searching for its first road win (0-3) and at 6-4 overall is deadlocked with the Clippers atop the Pacific, although the 4-2 Clips have the superior winning percentage. Phoenix, at 4-4, is a game back of both clubs.
The Lakers improved to 2-0 on a three-game homestand on Sunday with a 90-82 win over Memphis. Kobe Bryant scored 26 points and dished out nine assists in that one.
Despite turning over the ball 27 times, the Lakers took advantage of the Zach Randolph-less Memphis squad by dominating the glass, outrebounding the Grizzlies 53-34.
Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol controlled the interior, snatching 15 rebounds apiece for the Lakers, who won their sixth straight game at Staples Center since dropping their home opener to the Bulls, 88-87. Matt Barnes added 15 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks.
"Twenty-seven turnovers was the downside. We have to address that," Gasol said.
The Suns, meanwhile, won for the third time in four games on Sunday in the desert after Marcin Gortat led seven Phoenix players in double figures with 18 points, as the Suns crushed the Bucks, 109-93, at US Airways Center.
The outcome was not surprising, considering Milwaukee has not won in Phoenix since February 21, 1987 -- a span of 24 games.
The Suns won back-to-back games for the first time this season using a balanced attack and a dominating third quarter during which they outscored the Bucks 34-19.
Steve Nash orchestrated the offense to the tune of 17 assists and 10 points, Channing Frye added 16 points, while Shannon Brown and Grant Hill chipped in 14 points apiece in the blowout. Rookie Markieff Morris logged 13 points and 10 rebounds.
"I think for the second straight game we were able to sit (Steve Nash) the whole fourth quarter," Suns head coach Alvin Gentry said. "Any rest that those guys can get, especially Steve and Grant (Hill) is good."
Phoenix has lost five of six to the Lakers at Staples Center.