Records: Lakers 35-16 (3rd in West), Grizzlies 27-25 (9th in West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 112.5 (2nd in NBA), Grizzlies 106.4 (17th in NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 105.2 (11th in NBA), Grizzlies 104.9 (10th in NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum; Grizzlies: Mike Conley, Sam Young, Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol
The Lakers Coming In: As they stand right now, the Lakers have the third best record in the league West and are on pace to finish one game behind of where they were to end their repeat title season. It goes without being said that this isn’t exactly where anyone expected to see the Lakers at this point in the season, but that’s why they play the games. They’re coming off a great win over the Hornets to get their seven-game road trip off to the right start, but they’re losers of three of their last five. They’ve been inconsistent on both sides of the ball and inconsistent on the boards. As always with this team, the Lakers’ have the kind of problems that other teams want — problems that can be fixed. Tonight, they try and fix their problem that is the Memphis Grizzlies, a team who has beat the Lakers in two of their last three meetings.
The Grizzlies Coming in: The Grizzlies have been relatively hot as of late, winners of six straight before an overtime loss to the Houston Rockets on Saturday. Rudy Gay hasn’t shot the ball well in recently, just 30 for 79 from the field and two for 10 from long range in his last five games. In those games, he’s only scored about 17 points per game, about three points under his season average. Mike Conley, on the other hand, has been playing great for the Grizzlies, shooting 50 percent from the three point line, scoring on the plus side of 15ppg and averaging nine assists per game. With the youth and talent on this team, guys have been able to pick up scoring while others have struggled, which has been one of the main reasons the Grizzlies have been playing so well as of late.
Grizzlies Blogs: Three Shades of Blue has all of your Memphis Grizzlies news covered. Make sure you go check them out.
Keys to game: With Pau coming off of a 34 and 10 performance, I think the Lakers need to go to him early and often. I think Pau, more than anyone else on the Lakers plays his best games when he gets early touches. Considering that the Lakers will play five more games on the road before returning to Staples, it’s essential to have Gasol keyed in for as many games as possible, and getting him going for two straight games can do nothing but boost his confidence and open things up for all other Lakers. Also, this is a game where you’d really like to see Kobe in “facilitator mode”. Kobe has had a knack for going at O.J. Mayo in games against the Grizzlies. Knowing that Mayo is out and that he’ll likely be guarded by Sam Young, a guy he can get anything he wants against, it would be nice to see him pick his spots carefully and get everyone else involved.
On the other end of the ball, the best Lakers defense will be a patient offense. In the three games against the Grizzlies this season, turnovers have killed the Lakers, averaging 17 TOs per game, allowing both Rudy Gay and Mike Conley to have each of the three bigh scoring nights in their meeting this season. As I pointed out earlier, Rudy Gay has been slumping as of late, and it’s going to be largely up to Ron Artest to make sure that he doesn’t break out of his slump tonight. The Lakers perimeter defenders need to make this team a collection of jump shooters. Allowing Gay to finish in the paint or Conley to get into the paint and find open teammates will make this team awfully tough to stop. Lastly, the Gasol-Bynum-Odom triumvirate will have to be dominant on the boards tonight. In the Lakers’ only win against Memphis this season, they out-rebounded them by 23. I don’t expect the margin to be as wide, but there needs to be a positive one for the Lakers tonight if they want a chance at splitting the season series.
Where you can watch: 5:00pm start time out west on KCAL. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710am.
Igor Avidon says
Keep Z-Bo from putting up his averages and we should have this one.
Matt is not always correct, but his warrior spirit is something I appreciate and admire. Hopefully he’s right and hopefully our team is healthy once the playoffs start.
Lakers don’t have the third best record in the league. They are behind San Antonio, Boston, Miami, Dallas, and Chicago.
Darius Soriano says
#2. Thanks for the catch. I’ve fixed it. I think it was just a typo based off the fact that Phillip has the correct information in the team info at the top of the post.
My dream for today is to hold Memphis to fewer than 10 offensive rebounds. There are many other things that I could wish for, but that’s the one I want to see the most.
anyone got a link?
Any links to view the game?
wow all the starters have scored one basket
The Lakers giving up layups and wide open 12 footers. It’s going to be a long night.
getting good looks, not knocking them down
Apparently their plan to accomplish that is to prevent the Grizzlies from missing…
Joel – That is indeed a cunning method to cut down on offensive boards given up…!
Hard to believe Brown was actually a prospect at PG for this team. His decision-making on the break is Fisher-esque.
Wow, the local Memphis affiliate is interviewing Captain Morgan. Those awkward interviews with Denzel et al don’t seem so bad anymore.
Then again, looking at his competition maybe it’s not so hard to believe…
Hard to believe that Drew billed himself as “Shaq who can shoot free throws” when he was a rook. It looks like he spends time with Shaq in the offseason the way that other guys spend time with Hakeem…
some made free throws and we’d be sitting pretty
Am I the only one who doesn’t believe Sam Young is in his second year? He looks like Greg Oden’s older brother!
still no links?
Excellent ball movement to start the third.
Is this like, the first game all season where the Lakers have come out of halftime and actually played well? Let’s hope they can keep this up.
thanks for the link…much appreciated
John Morris says
Five second back-down call on Kobe? I just learned a new NBA rule.
That 5 second back-down call doesn’t get dusted off too often. Kind of nice to see it actually enforced, even if it was against Kobe.
That little flurry of rebounding from Memphis puts them up to 8 offensive boards…
Ron Artest needs to re-learn how to dribble. He’s having serious ball-handling issues out there.
Too many crazy crosscourt passes. This Grizzlies team is too long and active for that. I think that’s the third one they’ve picked off tonight.
#16 – Looks like your comment still stands, even with less than 2 minutes to go in the 3rd. Shooting below 60% from the line. Ouch.
Good grief, how many points are we going to throw away at the line????
Bynum pulls his hands way up like a T-Rex when he’s running.
Rudy Gay’s jumper is practically unblockable.
Win or lose, nobody will remember this game as aesthetically pleasing.
And there’s the 10th offensive board given up with 8.37 remaining in the 4th.
The way they’ve officiated from the end of the third quarter–well, from the 5-second call on Kobe, really–does anyone else feel like to refs are keeping this a little closer than it is?
Keep in mind, I’m not saying “The fix is in!!!!one”, but the calls seem tilted in Memphis’ favor.
ugly ugly offense, pau please
31, I would say the opposite, the Lakers seemed to have gotten a lot of favorable calls.
Ron needs to stop taking off the dribble side-ways threes.
I really wish Artest had a computer chip in his brain that didn’t allow him to shoot more than 5 times a game.
Oh god no! Not Rudy Gay! My fantasy team…..
Why is my comment still in moderation?
might as well take free throws from the 3 point line
34, let me amend: This has been a very poorly-officiated game. Questionable calls abounding. For instance, Artest on that inbound should have been a call for Arthur or whomever was hounding him, or on Artest for just laying him the F out.
kobe must have missed 5 layups
It’s kind of sad to see how much Kobe’s ability to finish has deteriorated this year. Between Kobe, Fisher and Artest, I’m starting to wonder if we have the worst 1-2-3 finishers in the league. I think so.
another hard effort for the lakers…that’s three in a row since the boston game…now onto boston…
plenty of rest, thursday game. a win there and then the next night at msg would go a long way….
easier said than done…
if the Lakers win the next 4 games I won’t say a single negative thing for the rest of the regular season
Actually, Kobe’s finishing percentage at the rim has jumped by 7.5% this season. He doesn’t get there as much nowadays but he generally converts a lot better than he has tonight.
Of course, comparing Kobe to Fisher or Artest as a finisher is pretty ridiculous no matter what the stats say.
re: 41…and Kobe’s lack of finishing….that is sadly a very correct observation. coupled with artest and derek is not good. i think after playing for so many years perhaps the body wants to avoid that contact along with being just not as athletic anymore.
#41…i’ve seen every game this season and that stat makes no sense. i think kobe has driven to the basket many times and lost the ball without even a shot attempt..that does not get counted as a shot.
stats be damned…he is not as good a finisher as he has been. i don’t think there’s any laker player or coach (except for kobe) that would tell you otherwise (privately)
can anyone please direct me to where on this site I can easily
click to see (1) lakers schedule (2) league schedule
(3) league standings….
is it just my imagination that it doesn’t exist here???
i have to go to espn?
Lakers beat celts on thursday and for all the poor play this year, lakes would then only be two games behind the celts whom everyone has extolled as having a super season…wierd….lets get that win!
The comparison made was between this season and last season. Kobe is obviously not as great at getting to the rim and finishing as he used to be but that has been the case for a few years now.
Craig W. says
I am a true Kobe fan, but I guess it doesn’t bother me if he isn’t the most talented player anymore – he is still probably the most skilled. However, age does have a habit of creeping up on us over time – at least it is better than the alternative.
Kobe’s game must change, but I think any GM in the game today would gladly accept him on their team. That is enough for me and I still hold out hope for this team – even if the game tonight really stunk.
44, I wasn’t comparing Kobe to Fisher or Artest, I was comparing them collectively to the other 1-2-3 starting guards/forward in the league. Fisher and Artest are equally abysmal but Kobe is inching closer and closer towards just being average at finishing in the paint. I hope he starts to use floaters more often instead of trying to over-penetrate because he just can’t finish over big men the way he used to, especially if he gets a little contact. I’m sure he will adjust though.
carry on your quest Kobe,you are doing awesome,don’t listen to naysayers and don’t get frustratred with refs who swallow their whistles but bring 4 to Wade’s Lbj’s games.