The Lakers are in Bluff City to battle the Grizzlies

Photo: Getty Images

It is March 13, 2012 and the (25-16) Los Angeles Lakers are in the “Mid-South”, in the southeast corner of the state of Tennessee for a run with the (24-16) Memphis Grizzlies. The Lakers hit the road after an invigorating 97-94 win against the rival Boston Celtics led by 59 point, 30 rebound, 14 assist and 2 block performance by Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.

Derek Fisher, Steve Blake and Metta World Peace combined for 25 points from the point guard and small positions. The purple and gold were able to survive 17 turnovers, 9 missed free throws and losing the offensive rebounding battle. The Lakers lead the current season series (1-0) with the Grizzlies after splitting last season’s series (2-2).

In the 90-82 win on 1/8/12, the Lakers were able to hold on to the majority of a 10-point lead and overcome 27 turnovers, 16 in the second half. The Lakers are 7-3 in the last 10 games overall against the Grizzlies. The Lakers have gone 7-3 in their last 10 games at the FedEx Forum.

In 55 career games, (48 starts) Kobe Bryant is averaging 24.8 points against the Grizzlies. The matchup of the Gasol brothers is always special. In 10 games, against his former team Pau Gasol is averaging 15.6 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.45 blocks. The Grizzlies are 15-5 at home. The Grizzlies, winners of nine of their last 12 games would hold the fourth seed in the Western Conference. The Lakers would hold the third seed in the Western Conference, if the playoffs started today.

As the trade deadline approaches, it is obvious that Kobe Bryant needs help on the perimeter; however trading Pau Gasol is not a move that makes sense at this time. The only significant player that makes sense for the Lakers right now is point guard Deron Williams. That move will probably will not happen. The Lakers would be wise to hold off on any trades at this time. The Lakers should be interested in a second-tier guard that can handle the ball, score, assist and rebound.

The Grizzlies are a talented young team that wants to play up-tempo basketball and run the Lakers out of the gym. The Lakers have to control the tempo, do a solid job of defending the pick-and-roll, get back in transition, control the boards and quickly rotate out to open shooters.

The Lakers need to continue to establish Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol in the painted area. The Grizzlies do not have the size to match up with the Lakers front line. The Lakers need to attack the Grizzlies on the interior. The Lakers need to communicate of defense, keep their men in front of them and receive a huge contribution from their reserves.

Starters
Lakers: D. Fisher, K. Bryant, M. Barnes, P. Gasol, A. Bynum
Grizzlies:
M. Conley, T. Allen, S. Young, D. Cunningham, M. Gasol

Tip-off: 5:00 PM PST

Television -

  • Los Angeles: KCAL 9 (Bill Macdonald & Stu Lantz)
  • Memphis: FS South TN (Pete Pranica & Sean Tuohy)

Radio -

  • Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (John Ireland & Mychal Thompson)
  • Memphis: 103.5 FM (Eric Hasseltine & Hank McDowell)

Injuries -

Lakers:

  • Kobe  Bryant (Nasal Fracture, Concussion) Probable
  • Steve Blake (Costochaondral Fracture) Probable
  • Andrew Bynum (Bruised Right Knee) Probable
  • Luke Walton (Gastroenteritis) Not with the team

Grizzlies:

  • Zach Randolph (Slight MCL tear in Right Knee) Doubtful
  • Darrell Arthur (Achilles Tendon) Out
  • Rudy Gay (Concussion) Out