The Los Angeles Lakers are coming off a 115-104 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers yesterday afternoon. The Lakers got off to a bad start as they trailed 17-0 early in the first quarter. The early deficit proved to be too much to overcome. David Nwaba led the Lakers with 19 points and Brandon Ingram chipped in with 18 points. Today they try and get back in the win column against the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Grizzlies are coming off a 99-90 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night. Mike Conley led the team with 28 points and six assists. The win clinched a playoff spot for the Grizzlies. Today they will be without three of their most important players in Marc Gasol, JaMychal Green, and Vince Carter.
Mike Conley and Tony Allen hold down the backcourt for the Grizzlies. Conley is perhaps enjoying his best season yet as he is averaging 20.5 points, 6.3 assists, and 3.1 rebounds per game. He is also a pretty good three-point shooter. The Grizzlies will go as far as Conley takes them, that’s how important he is to the team success. Either Jordan Clarkson or D’Angelo Russell will have their work cut out for them this afternoon.
Allen is best known for his defensive prowess. He is still one of the best defenders in the league as he uses his speed and agility to disrupt the opposition. While he does not provide a lot of offense he is capable of knocking down some open shots. If he is open 20-feet away from the basket, the Lakers should take their chances of him shooting the ball.
With multiple players out the Grizzlies will heavily rely on Troy Daniels off the bench today. Even though he is only averaging 8.2 points per game he is very capable of lighting up the scoreboard. It would be in the Lakers best interest not leave him open too much as he will most likely make them pay. Rookie Wade Baldwin IV will also see some time with Memphis short-handed.
The Lakers employ the backcourt of Jordan Clarkson and D’Angelo Russell. Both have played well side-by-side this season. With Clarkson being able to handle the basketball a little more it allows Russell to focus more on scoring, which is his best quality. In his last 10 games he’s averaging 17.7 points per game. The Lakers need him to play well today to come out with a victory.
Clarkson has kept up his level play as of late. He is averaging 14.8 points and three rebounds per game this season. After struggling with inconsistency for most of the season he has seemed to find his rhythm heading into the last few games. The Lakers also need him to play well today.
David Nwaba and Tyler Ennis come of the bench for the Lakers. Nwaba has been a pleasant surprise since his call up from the D-Fenders a few weeks back. He gives the Lakers energy and toughness and will need to provide both of those qualities against a physical Grizzlies team. Ennis has played better as of late and with gaining more playing time the last few games of the season it is a great opportunity for him to show the Lakers front office that he is worth keeping arounding in the future.
James Ennis III and Brandan Wright are the two definite starters for the Grizzlies front line. Ennis III is a solid player, he is averaging 6.8 points and four rebounds per game. He is a capable shooter so the Lakers must be aware of where he is at on the court.
Wright also does not provide much offense, but makes up for it on the defensive end. He uses his length to alter shots. The Lakers bigs’ should make sure to keep him out of the paint.
The last spot will be between Zach Randolph, Deyonta Davis, and Jarell Martin, though all will see some minutes with so many Grizzlies out. Randolph is a seasoned veteran who uses his body well to be effective on the offensive end. What he lacks in speed and jumping ability he makes up for with strength and finesse.
Davis and Martin are young players with some potential who will need to bring defense and energy.
With Ivica Zubac out the rest of the season the Lakers starting frontcourt consists of Brandon Ingram, Larry Nance Jr., and Julius Randle. Ingram has recently started to show the player he could become on a nightly basis. Against the Clippers he finished with 18 points and five rebounds. He has Lakers fans excited for the future.
Nance Jr. and Randle provide the Lakers with relentless energy. They are going to need to find a way to play off each other in order to be a successful pair. Randle will have his hands full tonight so it will be up Nance Jr. to step up his game on both ends of the floor.
Off the bench the Lakers turn to Thomas Robinson, Corey Brewer, and Tarik Black. All three are spark plugs who give the Lakers much needed energy and hustle. They have all played pretty good as of late and will look to continue to do so tonight.
Three Keys To Victory
Get Off To A Fast Start
An important part of the game will be if the Lakers can get off to a good start. Yesterday against the Clippers the Lakers trailed 17-0 in the first quarter and it proved to be too much to overcome. Against good teams like the Clippers and Grizzlies it is important to play well from the get go.
Productive Russell And Clarkson Backcourt
Both Russell and Clarkson did not have the best games against the Clippers yesterday. Russell finished with two points and Clarkson with seven points. If the Lakers want to be a better team they cannot afford for both of them to have games where they do not score the ball. Hopefully this afternoon they can get back on track.
Take Care Of The Ball
The Grizzlies average about eight steals per game this season, which makes it extremely important for the Lakers to be cautious with the ball. If the Lakers start to get sloppy with the basketball the Grizzlies will turn those into easy baskets and that cannot happen if the Lakers want to win today.
Los Angeles Lakers (21-55) Vs. Memphis Grizzlies (42-34)
12:30 P.M. PST, April 2, 2017
STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, Califronia
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM (ESPN/1330 KWKW (Spanish)
Projected Grizzlies Starting Lineup:
PG: Mike Conley
SG: Tony Allen
SF: James Ennis III
PF: Zach Randolph
C: Brendan Wright
Key Reserves: Troy Daniels, Wade Baldwin IV, Jarell Martin, Deyonta Davis
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: Jordan Clarkson
SG: D’Angelo Russell
SF: Brandon Ingram
PF: Julius Randle
C: Larry Nance Jr.
Key Reserves: Tyler Ennis, David Nwaba, Corey Brewer, Thomas Robinson, Tarik Black