The Lakers frontline went out and played big against the Celtics helping the team win in Boston. Lakers approached that match up as a playoff game; the Celtics wanted to play the role of the schoolyard bully and got beat. The Celtics defense is formidable, but it was the Lakers defense that was the difference in Sunday’s game holding them to 16 fourth quarter points and helping the Lakers achieve a 5-2 mark on their annual extended Grammy road trip.
The game was chippy before it started with all of the jostling going on before the opening tip, but Ron Artest set the tone in the beginning, Andrew and Pau followed through in the middle of the game, and Kobe closed the show and ended the ‘who is the better team’ debate.
As expected Phil Jackson tied Pat Riley at the top of the Lakers All-Time coaching wins list and the Purple and Gold showed that they will never backdown from that team and showed that they’re ready for whatever and that it’s personal whenever the two teams meet.
The funny thing is Rasheed Wallace, a guy who hasn’t broken out a back-to-the-basket move in years was upset that his new team was bitten by the Black Mamba and is doing a lot of talking to whickever Boston beat writer that will listen, but he isn’t saying anything of substance; he needs to answer the question ‘what did the scoreboard say?’.
For those who haven’t taken notice, the Grizzlies are playing good basketball. The team has the inside power of Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and Rudy Gay as well as the speed and perimeter scoring of O.J. Mayo and Mike Conley. This young and talented team has come together nicely and is in the mix for a Western Conference playoff spot. They’re scoring 104 points per game, making them a top-five team in scoring; they’re 7-3 in their last 10 games and an impressive 17-6 at home.
The Grizzlies big men, All-Star Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, play well as a tandem and are highly effective in the low-post. This team does a good job of rebounding and scoring in the paint. The Lakers frontline has to come out and play aggressive on both ends on the court, attack the basket offensively and limit the Grizzlies points in the paint defensively.
It will be nice to see the Gasol brothers going at it. Lakers needs to take care of the ball and not let this team get out in transition and score easy fastbreak points. The difference in this game will come down to the Lakers energy level, rebounding, defense and execution down the stretch. They have to limit Zach Randolph, O.J. Mayo, Rudy Gay and Marc Gasol’s impact on this game and hold them below their season averages.
By the final buzzer in this game Kobe Bryant will become the Lakers All-Time leading scorer by reaching his season average.
Tip-off: 5:00 PM PST
- Los Angeles: KCAL 9 (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- Memphis: Fox Sports TN (Pete Pranica & Sean Tuohy)
- Los Angeles: ESPN 710 AM (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Memphis: 103.5 FM (Eric Hasseltine & Hank McDowell)
- Kobe Bryant (Avulsion Fracture, right index finger)
- Sasha Vujacic (Strained Right Hamstring)
- Luke Walton (Pinched Nerve, Back)
- PF Darrel Arthur (Right Pectoralis Surgery) Out