By: Jacob Rude | 7 hours ago
Who: Los Angeles Lakers (19-13) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (16-16)
When: Sunday, Dec. 23; 6:30 p.m. PST, Staples Center
Where: Spectrum SportsNet
Two weeks ago, the Memphis Grizzlies were 15-9 and facing the Lakers at home. Los Angeles won that game decidedly and Memphis has spiraled out of control since. The Grizzlies have won seven of the last eight and the last five games.
Now, Memphis is .500 and quickly falling out of the playoff race in the Western Conference. The Lakers could do themselves a service and further the Grizzlies’ plummet.
The defense has not been the issue for the Grizzlies in the last eight games. They still rank 12th in the league in defensive rating in that span. The offense, though, is 28th in the league in that span. The biggest issue for the team in that span is the three-point shooting, which the Grizzlies rank 28th in the league in the last eight games.
The Lakers, meanwhile, rank 11th in the league in defense in that span are ninth in the league in defending the three-point line in that span. In theory, it adds up to a big night for the Lakers.
Return to full strength
The Lakers have been dealing with a host of injuries, both short-term and long-term. While the team welcomed back Brandon Ingram and Rajon Rondo on Friday, JaVale McGee exited the starting lineup with an upper respiratory infection.
While Ivica Zubac played above his head in the game against the Pelicans, it’s certainly not sustainable for him to play at that level. If McGee is unavailable again, Zubac likely will start again given his performance against New Orleans.
The team still likely can’t rely on Zubac long-term so getting McGee back would be huge on the night.
Avoiding the trap game
All eyes will be on Los Angeles and Golden State on Christmas Day. That game, though, is two days away. And as bad as Memphis is playing, they’re still an NBA team capable of beating anyone on any night. The Lakers must avoid overlooking the Grizzlies, grab the win and head into the Warriors game on a streak.
Source: “Los Angeles” – Google News