The Los Angeles Lakers hope to win their third straight game on their first road trip of the season when they take on the severely undermanned Memphis Grizzlies in the first of a two-game set.
The Lakers are 2-0 on the road to begin the 2020-21 season, and want to continue that winning mentality after last season, when they had one of the best road winning percentages of all-time.
They’ll have a chance to capitalize against a Grizzlies team missing a ton of key contributors.
The Grizzlies were without almost half of thire roster on Friday, and some of those will carry over to Sunday with long-term injuries.
The young, promising duo of Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. will both be out due to health and safety protocols. Other players who might miss Sunday’s game include Jontay Porter, Killian Tillie, Xavier Tillman and Grayson Allen.
The Lakers will be without Alex Caruso as he goes through the NBA’s health and safety protocols. His status for Tuesday night against the Grizzlies is up in the air, but at minimum he will be out on Sunday — a fourth consecutive game missed.
LeBron James remains on the injury report with a sore ankle, but he is more likely to play than not. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was hopeful to play, but has been ruled out after suffering an ankle sprain in the Lakers’ win over the San Antonio Spurs.
With the Grizzlies missing so many players, this is a great chance for L.A. to grab two wins before heading back home. Getting a 6-2 start to the season is an excellent confidence boost as well as some insurance towards a higher seed as the season progresses.
As for who is healthy for the Grizzlies, the Lakers will have an opportunity to test their interior defense — which has struggled through the first six games of the season — against Jonas Valanciunas. The veteran big man is averaging 15.2 points and 12.0 rebounds per game, giving Marc Gasol and Montrezl Harrell a chance to face a quality center.
Lakers (4-2) vs. Grizzlies (2-3)
3:00 p.m. PT, Jan. 3, 2021
FedEx Forum, Memphis, Tennessee
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA
Projected Lakers starting lineup:
PG: LeBron James
SG: Dennis Schroder
SF: Kyle Kuzma
PF: Anthony Davis
C: Marc Gasol
Key Reserves: Montrezl Harrell, Wesley Matthews, Markieff Morris, Talen Horton-Tucker
Projected Grizzlies starting lineup:
PG: Tyus Jones
SG: Dillon Brooks
SF: Brandon Clarke
PF: Kyle Anderson
C: Jonas Valanciunas
Key Reserves: Gorgui Dieng, Desmond Bane, John Konchar, Sean McDermott
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