Lakers Vs. Grizzlies Preview: D’Angelo Russell & Mo Bamba Out On Pau Gasol Jersey Retirement Night
DAngelo Russell, Lakers
(Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)

At halftime of Tuesday night’s game, the Los Angeles Lakers will honor legendary big man Pau Gasol by raising his No. 16 jersey into the rafters of Arena. But the Lakers will need to remain focused as they have another extremely important contest when they host the team that traded Gasol to the franchise, the Memphis Grizzlies.

At 31-34, the Lakers currently sit in a four-way tie for the ninth spot in the Western Conference so every single game is absolutely crucial. Likewise, the Grizzlies sit just one game ahead of the Sacramento Kings for the second seed in the West and thus need to get on track as well.

Thankfully for the Lakers, Anthony Davis has returned to his form from earlier in the season as he has been absolutely dominant the last couple of games. But aside from Davis keeping up his high level of play, the Lakers must continue to get strong performances from their role players.

That is especially the case with D’Angelo Russell missing his sixth straight game with a right ankle sprain. His absence leaves the Lakers void of playmakers with LeBron James also out. Mo Bamba also won’t be playing due to an ankle sprain of his own.

Other players will need to step up for L.A. like they did in Sunday’s win over the Golden State Warriors. Six Lakers scored in double-figures with the likes of Austin Reaves, Jarred Vanderbilt and Troy Brown Jr. making huge plays all game long. The Lakers will also be looking at Malik Beasley to provide one of those hot shooting nights against a Memphis team armed with shooters.

Despite being without superstar point guard Ja Morant, the Grizzlies are still a more than formidable opponent whom the Lakers can not afford to take lightly. Tyus Jones has made a career out of stepping in place of the starter and having exceptional nights while Desmond Bane is one of the best shooters in the league who can get hot in a moment. The Lakers know all too well how the Grizzlies can explode in a quarter and in their last contest put forth a 51-point third quarter against the Clippers

Jaren Jackson Jr. remains the favorite to win NBA Defensive Player of the Year at the moment and provides a worthy adversary for Davis on both ends of the court.

Memphis has plenty of experience and success playing without Morant and are not looking to drop their third straight with their own playoff positioning at risk. Davis will do his part, but it will likely come down to the others doing their part. If they can outperform the Grizzlies’ role players the Lakers could come away with their second straight win.

Los Angeles Lakers (31-34) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (38-25)

7:00 p.m. PT, March 7, 2023 Arena, Los Angeles, California
TV: TNT, Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA

Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:

PG: Dennis Schroder
SG: Malik Beasley
SF: Troy Brown Jr.
PF: Jarred Vanderbilt
C: Anthony Davis

Key Reserves: Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura, Wenyen Gabriel, Lonnie Walker IV

Projected Grizzlies Starting Lineup:

PG: Tyus Jones
SG: Desmond Bane
SF: Dillon Brooks
PF: Jaren Jackson Jr.
C: Xavier Tillman

Key Reserves: Santi Aldama, John Konchar, Luke Kennard, David Roddy

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