With much of today's attention focused on the Eastern Conference, the Lakers will take on the Suns for the second time in three days later this afternoon. Known to elevate his level of play against the Suns, Kobe Bryant has led the Lakers to three straight victories after putting up 36 points and six assists in Friday night's 111-99 victory in Phoenix. Let's take a look around the rest of the Pacific Division to see what else is going on:
- Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic says Suns star point guard Steve Nash isn't going anywhere prior to the trade deadline. It's a catch-22 situation where sending Nash to a contender wouldn't net the team fair compensation whereas sending the future HOFer to a middling squad who could send an attractive draft pick to the Suns would be doing a disservice to Nash. Coro expects Nash, 38, to stay with the Suns through the rest of the season and attempt to re-sign the former Santa Clara star to a new contract come June.
- While there has been heavy speculation that the Lakers are plotting to make a move in order to make a playoff run, the return of one injured player has given the squad a much needed spark. Since rejoining the Lakers five game ago, the team has gone 4-1 with former Terrapins guard Steve Blake manning the point, says Janis Carr of The Orange County Register. The ninth-year player is currently averaging 6.8 PPG and 3.1 APG on the season.
- After arriving in Sacramento last June via trade, life for Kings forward J.J. Hickson has been a series of adjustments, writes Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. Hickson, 23, spent the first three years of his career with the Cavaliers and benefited from two years of tutelage under LeBron James. Now in Sacramento, he's had to deal with an early season coaching change and an overall different way of doing things which has led to the former N.C. State star's career-low FG% (.382) on the season.