Kobe Bryant – Sam Young
Ron Artest – Rudy Gay
Pau Gasol – Zach Randolph
Andrew Bynum – Marc Gasol
The Lakers and Grizzlies have split their last two meetings with one win each. While Los Angeles has been on a roller coaster in the middle of the season, Memphis has been on a roll, winning 9 out of their last 11 games. The Grizzlies are playing hard for a playoff spot. They have not been in the playoffs since the 2005-2006 season, and the franchise has only made the playoffs a total of 3 times (including Vancouver).
Zach Randolph has been putting up All-Star numbers very similar to last season’s. In the last two meetings between these teams, Memphis picked up a win by two points with Mike Conley leading the way with 28 points, and 10-13 shooting from the field. The Lakers turned the ball over 14 times while the Grizzlies only had a total of six. Throughout the game, Memphis played terrific defense and took the defending champions out of sync.
After a heartbreaking loss against the Spurs, the Lakers finally got together to snatch a road win over the New Orleans Hornets 101-95. The Lakers will head into Memphis on Monday night looking to win their second win in a row on their second of seven game road trip. With the poor play of the Lakers lately, the Grizzlies will be another test for L.A. before they head to Boston and New York on Thursday and Friday night.
Lakers Keys to Victory:
Push and control the tempo – When the Lakers execute their plays early and continue up-tempo play, they end up playing extremely well. If they keep up, they should be able to beat Memphis.
Take advantage of Mayo’s absence – O.J. Mayo is still serving his 10 game suspension for violating the league’s anti-drug policy. Sam Young has played great basketball in his stead, but with Kobe playing against the second year player, he may be in for a rude awakening.
Pau needs to continue powering through – In Gasol’s last game, he put up 34 points while shooting 13 for 17 from the field. Pau’s great play of late needs to blend in with this crucial road-trip.