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Memphis Grizzlies

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Photo courtesy of Jeff Gross, Getty Images.

April 13, 2014 — 6:30 PM (PST)
STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA
TV: TWC SportsNet / TWC SportsNet Deportes / NBATV
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)

With the season winding down, the Los Angeles Lakers will play their final home game of the regular season as they take on the Memphis Grizzlies, who currently battle the Phoenix Suns for the 8th and final playoff spot.

PF Zach Randolph, who both averages 17.1 PPG and 10.1 RPG, brings a very old school low-post game. He backs defenders down with his tremendous strength and has the excellent ability to position his body in the correct areas of the floor to grab rebounds and get off easy shots. Despite currently holding only the 8th seed, Randolph will become the key reason to cause the San Antonio Spurs a lot of hassle.

PG Mike Conley, arguably the most underrated and improved point guard in the NBA, could have easily become an all-star this season, scoring a team leading 17.1 PPG and dishing out 6.0 APG. Though it took awhile, Conley has finally developed into one of the most lethal point guards in the NBA.

Projected Starters

PG - Kendall Marshall  Mike Conley[Advantage: Lakers]
SG - Jodie Meeks / Courtney Lee [Advantage: Grizzlies]
SF - Wesley Johnson Tayshaun Prince [Advantage: Even]
PF - Ryan Kelly / Zach Randolph[Advantage: Grizzlies]
C - Jordan Hill Marc Gasol [Advantage: Lakers]

Notable Bench Players

Grizzlies: G Tony AllenMike MillerNick Calathes

Lakers: PG Jordan FarmarRobert Sacre, F/G Nick Young, G Marshon Brooks

Bench Advantage: Lakers

Injury List

Grizzlies: Out-F Quincy Pondexter, GTD-F Tayshaun Prince

Lakers: Out-G Kobe Bryant, Out-PG Steve Nash, Out-C Chris Kaman, Out-G Xavier Henry, Out-C Pau Gasol, Out-G Kent Bazemore

Bottom Line

Hopefully, the Lakers limit the Grizzlies to 1 possession by rebounding the ball well. The Lakers have to play with a lot of energy as they have to use their athleticism to their advantage. Although the Grizzlies must be playing with a tremendous amount of urgency, the Lakers have to play very motivated also since this is their final home game. Hopefully the Lakers can catch the Grizzlies looking forward too much to their next battle vs. Suns and steal a victory tonight to play spoiler.

Prediction

Grizzles: 112-101

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February 26, 2014 — 5:00 PM (PST)
FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN
TV: TWC SportsNet / TWC SportsNet Deportes
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)

Closing out this short two-game road trip, the Lakers head to Memphis to face off vs. Memphis Grizzlies (31-24), who find themselves in the thick of the playoff chase.

The Lakers philosophy last night to play small in order for the Pacers to match up vs. the Lakers’ quickness backfired terribly. The Pacers grabbed 20 more rebounds than the Lakers, including 20 offensive rebounds, and the Lakers could not shoot the ball well, and shot only 34.8 % from the 3 point line.

However, Laker Nation cannot help but to feel optimistic about newly acquired G Kent Bazemore, who has shown the Lakers that he can score well when given the opportunity. In his first 3 games with the Lakers, Bazemore has surpassed his career high during each game, scoring 15, 17, and 23 points respectively.

Now, the Lakers will try to play small vs. arguably the slowest team in the NBA in the Grizzlies, who run their entire offense through their twin towers, C Marc Gasol and PF Zach Randolph.

The only real headline for the Lakers tonight lies upon the matchup of the Gasol brothers, Pau and Marc. Despite scoring only 13 points vs. Pacers, C Pau Gasol has played significantly well due to shedding excess weight from the beginning of the season. Despite the Lakers losing streaks throughout the last 2 months, Gasol has shown Lakers management that he can still be a key piece in a championship run following this season. Meanwhile, Pau’s brother C Marc Gasol has had another solid season despite his mid-season injury, averaging 13.2 PPG and 6.4 RPG. We should expect to see a lot of Gasol post action throughout this game.

Gasol’s counterpart, PF Zach Randolph, who both averages 18.1 PPG and 10.8 RPG, brings a very old school low-post game. Call it what you want, Randolph might possess one of the slowest speed and quickness in the NBA and have trouble dunking the ball, but he uses his body extremely well. He backs defenders down with his tremendous strength and has the excellent ability to position his body in the correct areas of the floor to grab rebounds and get off easy shots.

PG Mike Conley, arguably the most underrated and improved point guard in the NBA, could have easily become an all-star this season, scoring a team leading 18.7 PPG and dishing out 6.5 APG. Grizzlies can consider Conley as the main reason the Grizzlies are in the playoff chase, keeping the team afloat while Marc Gasol missed time due to his injury.

Projected Starters

PG - Kendall Marshall  Mike Conley[Advantage: Lakers]

SG - Jodie Meeks / Courtney Lee [Advantage: Grizzlies]

SF - Kent Bazemore Tayshaun Prince [Advantage: Even]

PF - Wesley Johnson / Zach Randolph[Advantage: Grizzlies]

C - Pau Gasol Marc Gasol [Advantage: Lakers]

Notable Bench Players

Grizzlies: G Tony Allen, Mike MillerNick Calathes

Lakers: PG Jordan FarmarC Chris Kaman, F Jordan Hill, G Marshon Brooks

Bench Advantage: Lakers

Injury List

Grizzlies: Out-F Quincy Pondexter

Lakers: Out-G Kobe Bryant, Out-PG Steve Nash, Out-F/G Nick Young, Out-G Xavier Henry

Keys for Lakers Success

Defensive Rebounding: The Grizzlies play very big, using Gasol and Randolph to their advantage. Randolph is tied for 10th place in offensive rebounding, so whoever guards him has to beat him to the spot and box him out to get rebounds. The Lakers gave up 20 offensive rebounds yesterday and seem to suffer from a huge mismatch down in the paint. As Gasol said during yesterday’s post-game interview, if the Lakers decide to play small and put Johnson on Randolph, “good luck, right?”

Bottom Line

Hopefully, the Lakers limit the Grizzlies to 1 possession by rebounding the ball well. The Lakers have to play with a lot of energy as they have to use their athleticism to their advantage. If the Lakers hit their shots, the will have a good chance to beat the Grizzlies today. However, they have to get the basic fundamentals down, limiting turnovers and grabbing rebounds, to get themselves into position to win tonight’s game.

Prediction

Grizzles: 96-90

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Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images

December 17, 2013 — 5:00 PM (PST)
FedEx Arena, Memphis, TN
TV: TWC SportsNet / TWC SportsNet Deportes
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)

After a very ugly and disappointing loss vs. Atlanta Hawks, the Los Angeles Lakers (11-13) look to finish out their 4-game road trip on a positive note vs. Memphis Grizzlies (10-13). The Lakers’ defense completely collapsed vs. Hawks in the 2nd half, allowing 67 points, allowing multiple 2nd chance opportunities, and countless amounts of uncontested shots.

Kobe Bryant still shows rust with his left foot stemming from his achilles surgery, only scoring 8 points, 6 assists, and allowing 5 turnovers, although 4 of them came in the 1st quarter. The absence of the 3 point guards, PG Steve Nash, PG Steve Blake, and PG Jordan Farmar, showed the most last night. The Lakers offense became stagnant, taking highly contested low percentage shots and throwing low percentage passes which led to turnovers. G Nick Young was one of a very few Laker who shot the ball well, leading the Lakers with 23 points, while F Jordan Hill almost had another double-double with 21 points and 9 rebounds.

The Lakers now have to play the Memphis Grizzlies, who have been a disappointment so far after reaching the Western Conference Finals last season. Making things matter worse for the Grizzlies, 2 of their top 3 players will not play tonight. C Marc Gasol, brother of Pau Gasol, is still recovering from a sprained MCL, and PG Mike Conley, arguably the most underrated and improved point guard in the NBA, has now been officially ruled out due to a thigh bruise, according to the Grizzlies PR. Therefore, the Grizzlies tonight will rely heavily on PF Zack Randolph. Randolph, who both averages 16.0 PPG and 7.0 RPG, brings a very old school low-post game. Although he has trouble with verticality, he will back defenders down with his tremendous strength to score easily.

Projected Starters

PG - Jerryd Bayless Kobe Bryant [Advantage: Lakers]

SG - Tony Allen / Jodie Meeks [Advantage: Grizzlies]

SF - Tayshaun Prince Wesley Johnson [Advantage: Even]

PF - Zach Randolph / Jordan Hill [Advantage: Grizzlies]

C - Kosta Koufos Pau Gasol [Advantage: Lakers]

Notable Bench Players

Grizzlies: G Nick Calathes, Mike MillerJon Leuer

Lakers: G Xavier Henry, G/F Nick YoungF Shawne Williams

Bench Advantage: Lakers

Keys for Lakers Success

  1. Defensive Rebounding: Not only did the Lakers defense give up a lot of wide open shots to the Hawks, but also allowed 15 offensive rebounds, many of which came in the 2nd half collapse. Since the Lakers defense has struggled significantly outside of their win vs. Bobcats, the Lakers cannot allow the Grizzlies to take more shots from extra possessions. Koufos and Randolph have 2.4 offensive RPG and 2.3 offensive RPG, so anybody near them have to make sure to box these two players out by using proper fundamentals since they both possess a significant weight advantage over any players on the Lakers.
  2. Pau Gasol: I know I sound like a broken record, but C Pau Gasol absolutely has to have a huge night vs. the Grizzlies. C Kosta Koufos, who does not possess great defensive skills, will most likely guard Gasol throughout the game, so Gasol has to take advantage of this mismatch and be aggressive throughout the entire game. Although Gasol started very well vs. the Hawks scoring 10 points in first quarter, he struggled to get any shots afterwards, only scoring 6 pts for the rest of the game. That cannot happen tonight, especially as Bryant looks to force feed him the ball in the post due to the mismatch.

Bottom Line

This game will be another low-scoring outing especially playing vs. Grizzlies, who run a very slow paced game. Hopefully, the Lakers play with as much energy as they would if the Grizzlies had Gasol and Conley available. With SG Tony Allen, who many can argue as one of the best perimeter defenders in NBA, guarding Bryant today, the rest of the Lakers have to be ready to catch the ball cleanly and make their shots. With the injury bug hitting the Grizzlies, the Lakers should come away with a victory tonight to finish 2-2 on their road trip.

Prediction

Lakers: 99-93

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