The (13-4) Los Angeles Lakers are in Memphis, Tennessee to face the (7-10) Grizzlies and avoid the first three-game slide of the season.
The Lakers have been held under their season scoring average of 112.5 points and under 40-percent shooting in the last two games. What better way for them to break out of the funk that they find themselves playing at the Forum. No, not the Fabulous Forum, that all Lakers fans hold near an dear to their hearts, The FedEx Forum.
Tonight’s match-up will be the second game of the series and of match-ups of the Gasol Brothers this season.
The Lakers won the first game of the series 124-105 earlier this month. Uncharacteristically, in the two previous contests, the Lakers haven’t sustained their focus, energy and effort for the entire game.
There is a common denominator in the two loses and it’s clearly the defense. It’s the reason the Lakers have won championships. Defensively they have to match the intensity of their opponents, stop the dribble penetration of the guards and get back in transition.
The Lakers to control the tempo of the game and out-work their opponents and own the painted area and win the rebounding battle, the rotations out to the open man have to be quicker. The Lakers haven’t done a good job of moving the basketball. Specifically, getting the ball inside to the post-area and running their offense.
The moment the Lakers have difficulty getting the ball inside, a few things seem to happen: 1) an increased number of perimeter shots. 2) A large amount of three-point shots. 3) Kobe Bryant scoring 30+ points.
It is always nice to see the Black Mamba in attack mode and scoring a lot of points, but this team needs multiple players scoring in double-digits and key contributions from everyone.
The Lakers are 3-3 when Kobe scores more than 30, compared to 10-1 when he doesn’t. His has averaged 37 points per game in his last six games in Memphis, L.A. has taken five.
One thing that appears obvious is that Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom are playing extended minutes. This is unfortunate, but necessary right now although help is on the way as Andrew Bynum is rapidly improving.
The Lakers have to contain Rudy Gay, the Grizzlies leading scorer. They have to limit Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol and O.J. Mayo impact on this game. The Grizzlies have been starting rookie Xavier Henry at shooting guard and bringing O.J. Mayo off of the bench.
This road trip is a perfect opportunity for the killer B’s and the rest of the second unit to have a bounce back game.
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)
- Andrew Bynum (Right Knee) Out
- Theo Ratliff ( Left Knee) Out
- Lamar Odom (Sore Right Foot) Probable