The Los Angeles Lakers have been playing their best basketball of the season recently, winning their last four games. They’ll look to make it five straight on Monday afternoon in Memphis against the Grizzlies.
Unfortunately for the Lakers they will have to do so without Lonzo Ball, who will miss the game with a mild knee sprain. They are 0-6 so far this season without Lonzo, so they will undoubtedly have to figure things out without their catalyst on offense.
Additionally, Brandon Ingram is a game-time decision with a sprained ankle. The last time these two teams met the Grizzlies handed the Lakers their fourth of nine consecutive losses.
The Grizzlies were propelled by an excellent night from Tyreke Evans who had 32 points and lived at the free throw line all night. The Lakers will have to figure out a way to contain him without fouling, which has been an issue all season.
The center matchup might be the most important one of the night, as Brook Lopez remains the Lakers’ best interior defender and a major offensive threat when his jumper is falling. The Grizzlies counter with Marc Gasol, arguably the best two-way center in the NBA who can beat you in any number of ways.
With Ball out, Tyler Ennis will likely step into the starting lineup in his place and he will need to improve his recent play if he plans on helping the Lakers get their first win without Lonzo. The newly-signed Gary Payton II will also be making his debut and either he or fellow two-way Alex Caruso will likely have a few minutes to make a difference as well.
If Ingram were to miss the game there will be a lot of pressure on the Lakers’ frontcourt to produce on offense. Julius Randle has been great recently since becoming a starter, and Kyle Kuzma continues to produce. Jordan Clarkson will look to build on Saturday’s game, his best in recent weeks.
Three Keys To Lakers Victory
The Other Guys: JaMychal Green, Deyonta Davis, and Andrew Harrison combined for 49 points in the last meeting between these teams and the Lakers have a history of giving up big games non-stars. Allowing a huge night once again to one of these players or the likes of Dillon Brooks or Chandler Parsons is a recipe for failure.
Control Tempo: Memphis plays at the slowest pace in the NBA, while the Lakers are the fastest. The task becomes tougher without Ball (and possibly Ingram), but the Lakers have to push the pace and get out in transition where they are at their best.
Keep Grizzlies Off The Line: Memphis is one of the league’s best free throw shooting teams, and hit 34-of-39 from the line in the last meeting. The Lakers can’t allow a team that struggles offensively overall to live at the line and get free points.
Los Angeles Lakers (15-27) Vs. Memphis Grizzlies (13-28)
2:30 P.M. PST, January 15, 2018
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
Radio: 710 AM (ESPN)/1330 KWKW (Spanish)
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: Tyler Ennis
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
SF: Brandon Ingram
PF: Julius Randle
C: Brook Lopez
Key Reserves: Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr., Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart
Projected Grizzlies Starting Lineup:
PG: Andrew Harrison
SG: Tyreke Evans
SF: Dillon Brooks
PF: JaMychal Green
C: Marc Gasol
Key Reserves: Mario Chalmers, James Ennis, Jarell Martin, Deyonta Davis
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