The Lakers have returned from their two game road trip winning both games in overtime and our defending NBA Champions, Los Angeles, Lakers, will be facing the Memphis Grizzlies tonight. However, there is also a very good chance that both big men Pau Gasol & Andrew Bynum will miss tonight’s run at the Staples Center.
Every Lakers fan is awaiting Gasol’s season debut although it is a possibility that some might have missed Andrew being injured toward the end of the Rockets game. A game where he had an impressive 17 point 17 rebound 3 blocked shot stat line.
He is listed as day-to-day but according to reports; he may not play. The last thing anyone wants to see in Bynum hurt again and especially not against this team for the third year in a row. Andrew is off to a good start that needs to continue.
This off-season the Grizzlies added Allen Iverson and spoke with him about playing the role of being the sixth man and coming off the bench. Iverson publicly didn’t have a problem with the role at the time; but things have changed and apparently coming off of the bench is the last thing he wants to do. There has been a lot of talk in the news that he could become a distraction in Memphis. The Grizzlies have far more problems than Iverson; Memphis is allowing 115 points per game.
I will admit a backcourt of Allen Iverson & O.J. Mayo sounds much more formidable than matching Mayo & Mike Conley. Despite Iverson not being elated with the situation the coaching staff states that his role is coming off the bench and it is supported by the team owner.
The Lakers are 4-1 and should handle the Grizzlies even without two of their big men. The Grizzlies scoring tandem of O.J. Mayo & Rudy Gay should put up some points but will be forced to deal with the impossible task of slowing Kobe Bryant & Ron Artest. We won’t see the Gasol brothers match up in this game but the Grizzlies have some talent on their front line in Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.
The second overall pick in the draft Hasheem Thabeet hasn’t logged many minutes but there is a chance that he will match up with Bynum (if he plays) or D.J. Mbenga. His tall and can contribute as a shot blocker but he is a work in progress. Look for the Lakers to run their offense using excellent ball movement and excellent player movement to outwork the young Grizzlies.
Los Angeles needs to frustrate this team by limiting them to one shot per possession, getting back in transition to eliminate the Grizzlies from scoring easy buckets, control the glass an the tempo. The Lakers need to play defense without fouling, stop the dribble penetration and defend the screen and roll play and defend all the way out to the three point line.
The Lakers experience and executing down the stretch will carry the team to a win. However, I want to see the bench come in with energy change the pace of the game and extend the lead that the starters will establish.
Tip-off: 7:30 PM PST
- Los Angeles: Fox Sports West (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- Memphis: Fox Sports TN (Pete Pranica & Sean Tuohy)
- Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Memphis: 103.5 FM (Eric Hasseltine & Hank McDowell)
- Pau Gasol (Hamstring)
- Andrew Bynum (Strained Right Elbow)
- Darrell Arthur (Right Pectoralis Surgery)