The start of the 2021-22 season has been less than ideal for the Los Angeles Lakers as after going 0-6 in the preseason, they have now started off the regular season at 0-2.
Not only did the Lakers lose to the Phoenix Suns on Friday night, but frustrations also boiled over on the bench when Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard got into a scuffle after disagreeing on a defensive pick-and-roll coverage.
It seems that the Lakers are ready to move past the incident, but no one will know for sure until they take the court Sunday night to host Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies.
While the Lakers have a chance to get into the win column for the first time, it won’t come easy as the Grizzlies have been playing well to start the year. They currently sit at 2-0 after wins over the Los Angeles Clippers and Cleveland Cavaliers.
It may only be a two-game sample, but Morant looks ready to make the leap to stardom so far as he is averaging 32.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 7.0 assists. The Lakers’ perimeter defense has been their biggest area of concern this season, and they certainly will have their hands full with Morant on Sunday night.
Vogel revealed before the game that it will be Kent Bazemore, not Russell Westbrook, that gets the first crack at guarding Morant.
While all of the Lakers’ players have made it clear that it’s going to take time for this new team to gel, they can at least take solace in the fact that they’ve gotten solid efforts from their two stars, LeBron James and Davis, so far this season.
James comes in averaging 29.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists while shooting an impressive 50% from 3-point range on 10 attempts per game. Davis is posting 27.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.
The Lakers are once again short-handed in this one with Wayne Ellington, Trevor Ariza, Talen Horton-Tucker and Kendrick Nunn all ruled out. Ellington is the closest to returning as he continues to rehab a hamstring strain, although the expectation is he won’t be back until later in the week.
Memphis is also without a key player in Dillon Brooks, who has yet to play this season due to a fractured left hand.
L.A. is set to hit the road for the first time this season after the contest against the Grizzlies, so hopefully it can be a happy flight to San Antonio after a win over the Grizzlies as opposed to an 0-3 homestand to start the year.
Lakers (0-2) vs. Grizzlies (2-0)
6:30 p.m. PT, Oct. 24, 2021
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: Russell Westbrook
SG: Kent Bazemore
SF: LeBron James
PF: Anthony Davis
C: DeAndre Jordan
Key Reserves: Carmelo Anthony, Malik Monk, Avery Bradley, Dwight Howard, Rajon Rondo
Projected Grizzlies Starting Lineup:
PG: Ja Morant
SG: Desmond Bane
SF: De’Anthony Melton
PF: Jaren Jackson Jr.
C: Steven Adams
Key Reserves: Brandon Clarke, Kyle Anderson, Tyus Jones, John Konchar, Ziaire Williams
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