Preview & Chat: The Memphis Grizzlies

Kurt —  December 22, 2008

Olympics Day 16 - Basketball
Records: Lakers 21-5 (1st in the West) Grizzlies 9-17 (10th in West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 112 (3rd in league) Grizzlies 103.5 (24th in league)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 102.3 (4th in league) Grizzlies 108.8 (20th in league)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Luke Walton, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Grizzlies Kyle Lowry, O.J. Mayo, Rudy Gay, Darrell Arthur, Darko.

UPDATE: Jordan Farmar’s Knee: According to the Lakers team doctor and a second opinion, Jordan Farmar needs to have surgery on his knee, which likely would have him out a couple months. He is considering his options, which really are: 1) Get the surgery; 2) Let it heal naturally and piss off the Lakers near the end of his rookie deal; 3) give up basketball. So, I’m thinking he goes under the knife soon.

The Lakers may be looking around for a replacement in the short term, but the options are guys like Dee Brown and Troy Hudson (who only played great against the Lakers). Nothing thrilling. So we hope Jordan gets well soon.

The Grizzlies Coming In: I think everyone who watched O.J. Mayo the second half of the season at USC last year knew he had the game to play in the NBA, the question was did he have the head. So far, you bet he does. This is what David Thorpe had to say about him recently:

Composure is one of Mayo’s biggest strengths. And most of the time, composure in a player results from genuine confidence. Genuine confidence, as opposed to the type of confidence that is merely a shell covering insecurities, is born of hard work and successful practices and games.

Mayo and Gay make a good perimeter tandem and both are scoring 20 a game with True Shooting Percentages above 53%. Both can get to the hole then pass or finish.

One thing I’ve wondered in the little bits I’ve seen of Memphis — why is Darko starting over Gasol? Their shooting and rebounding numbers are similar (in terms of percentages) but Gasol just seems better able to fit in the flow of the offense. And, like his brother, he is used to the big stage.

One other question I’m curious about, why is Conley behind Kyle Lowry? Again the shooting and assist numbers are comparable, but Kyle turns it over more. There may be a good reason, we may see it tonight, but I’m curious.

Keys To The Game: Once again, the Lakers have an advantage inside. Arthur cannot stop Pau, and if Bynum shows up he should destroy Darko. But, will the Lakers get them the ball and will Bynum show up with some fire tonight? Good questions.

For a team that everyone says wants to get out and run, the Grizzlies don’t. They are 21st in the league in pace, the Lakers can and should control the tempo here. But watch out for those athletic wings in transition.

What they are is a team with wings who can penetrate, do it off the pick and roll, and that sets up their offense. Tonight would be as good a time as any for the Lakers to start defending that well.

Where you can watch: 5 p.m.,, KCAL 9 here in Los Angeles and League Pass and the usual spots nationally.