The most drama-filled show in sports, the Los Angeles Lakers, are rolling into Memphis to play the Grizzlies, with the hope of getting something out of this season getting slimmer and smaller, while the Griz are trying to figure out how to be dominant again.
No matter the record and their opposition, the Lakers are always the main story, whoever and wherever they play. At 17-24, the chances of them making the postseason (four games away from the 8th spot) don’t look too promising. Worst? Socially, things are falling apart. Kobe Bryant is not happy with the system, and isn’t happy with Dwight Howard. Pau Gasol is unhappy. Howard is unhappy. The GM is blaming the players, not the head coach, for everything that’s going on.
The Grizzlies have been mostly busy this past week contemplating trades: The luxury tax threshold and knowing that they owe Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and Rudy Gay more than $100 million over the next two years. Sending Marreese Speights, Wayne Ellington, Josh Selby and a future draft pick to Cleveland for Jon Leuer shaved $6 million off their payroll.
But there are also basketball problems that need to be fixed. The Grizzlies might have one of the best defenses in the NBA, but their offense hasn’t been able to score more than 85 points for six straight games, shooting 25% from beyond the arc on their last 8 games.
Luckily for the Grizzlies, the Lakers aren’t a defensive juggernaut. They allow teams to score 101.4 points per game against them, while being careless more times than not with the ball, not to mention being on a three games losing streak. The last time these two teams met was on November 23, with Memphis winning 106-98, making life very hard for Howard and Gasol.
Predictions – The Grizzlies will be happy to play a more “loose” team after games against the Bulls and Pacers. Even without much of an offensive game, the Grizzlies defense and physicality in the paint should be enough to beat the falling apart Lakers.