Here is what you need to know before the Lakers take on the Memphis Grizzlies.
1) LeBron is coming off another impressive all-around display
The Lakers returned to STAPLES Center on Friday, beating New Orleans for their sixth home win in a row.
Unsurprisingly, LeBron James was at the heart of this, stitching together his third triple-double of the season with 22 points, 14 assists and 12 rebounds.
James was in full facilitator mode, dropping dimes of all kinds — out of pick-and-rolls, post-ups and more. He also found chemistry with Kyle Kuzma and Ivica Zubac, who received nine of his assists.
But his most impressive passes of the night were a couple of home-run launches to Lonzo Ball, as James dished his way to another complete offensive showing.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 22, 2018
2) Big Zu stepped up in a big moment
With JaVale McGee missing his third straight game due to the flu, the Lakers turned to Ivica Zubac for his first start in two years.
Zubac took full advantage of his opportunity, notching a 16-point, 11-rebound double while shooting 8-of-10 from the field.
He did a nice job of staying involved and opportunistic with his scoring, finding pockets of open space with his cutting and making extra room by being physical with his massive frame.
With McGee’s status uncertain for this game, the Lakers could call Zubac back into the starting five, especially considering how Memphis’ offense revolves around 7-footer Marc Gasol.
L.A. will hope Zubac can replicate his defensive playmaking from last game’s fourth quarter, as he came up with two huge swats by breaking up an Anthony Davis alley-oop and rejecting former teammate Julius Randle.
3) Memphis is looking to hit the reset button
For the first two months of the season, the Grizzlies — owners of last year’s second-worst record — were the league’s feel-good story.
But the past few chapters haven’t been as fun for Memphis, which has lost five straight. Even worse, the offense has wilted to the point where it has been held to fewer than 100 points in eight consecutive games.
That’s not to say the Grizz can’t get back on track against the Lakers. Mike Conley and Marc Gasol remain among the league’s best pick-and-roll duos, and Memphis’ defense still ranks second in points allowed (102.3).
But L.A. will look to match its 23-point victory against the Grizzlies from two weeks ago. Hot 3-point shooting (a season-high 16 treys) led the charge back then, and it would certainly go a long way this time around.
Lakers: Brandon Ingram (sprained left ankle) and Rajon Rondo (right hand surgery) are probable. JaVale McGee (flu-like symptoms/respiratory infection) is questionable. Michael Beasley (personal reasons) is out. Isaac Bonga, Alex Caruso and Johnathan Williams are on G League assignment.
Grizzlies: Mike Conley (left hamstring soreness) is probable. Dillon Brooks (left knee sprain), Omri Casspi (illness), JaMychal Green (left hamstring soreness) and Joakim Noah (right heel soreness) are questionable. Chandler Parsons (right knee soreness) is out.
Tip-Off: 6:30 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 ESPN and 1330 KWKW
Unis: White Association
Location: STAPLES Center — Los Angeles, California
Source: Los Angeles Lakers