The Lakers played an interesting game against the Clippers on Saturday by faltering terribly early in giving up a 17-0 run to start the game, only to come back to lead briefly 32-31 and then only trail by 5 at the half. The 2nd half got away from them, but good performances from Brandon Ingram, David Nwaba, and Thomas Robinson offered some bright spots in an otherwise predictable game — at least from a results standpoint.
The Lakers now only have 6 games left in the season and with some winnable games left on the schedule, I’m sure there’s a growing group of fans who wouldn’t mind seeing the team continue to drop games to ensure the team stays “ahead” of the Suns in the race for the 2nd worst record in order to maximize their lottery chances. I’m still of the mind that the Lakers still need some good performances from their young players, for no other reason than to continue to add data to their off-season regiments on what works, what doesn’t, and how to best focus their individual training programs.
In today’s game against the Grizzlies, then, I’d like to see the team bounce back (at least somewhat *winks*) and find a better flow than they did against the Clips. Memphis has won two straight games after dropping four straight and now sit 7th in the West playoff race. If they stay in that spot, they’d face the Spurs, a matchup I’m not sure any Grizz fan really wants. If they were able to slide up to the 6th seed, a 1st round matchup against the Rockets would also be a major test and very likely end in a defeat, but that match up is a least somewhat more favorable with a more straight forward and executable game plan from night to night.
As it stands, the Grizz are two games back of the 6th place Thunder in the loss column (and three back from the 5th place Clippers), so a late season push up the standings isn’t out of the question. They will need to get healthy, however, and with Marc Gasol and JaMychal Green both banged up and missing games recently, that needs to happen sooner than later. If those guys miss today’s game, those injuries combined with any early start could create an opening for the Lakers to steal this game.
So, in that respect, this contest could be interesting. As we know, the Lakers can be streaky and all it takes is a big game from any two to three of Russell, Clarkson, Ingram, and Randle to not only keep the Lakers in it, but give them enough life to be up late. Most veteran teams with players as good as Conley or Gasol or Randolph are able hack away at those early advantages and regain control of the game to get the win. But, again, if Gasol doesn’t play or those other guys have a rough game the margin of error decreases.
Where you can watch: 12:30pm start time on Spectrum Sportsnet.