Lakers vs. Grizzlies Game Preview: Lakers Look to Inch Closer to .500

Lakers vs. Grizzlies Game Preview: Lakers Look to Inch Closer to .500


Pau vs MarcWhile the Lakers have stumbled some out of the gate to their current 4-6 record, many expected this, particularly with Kobe Bryant sidelined. Not many people expected a Memphis Grizzlies team that has been together for several years now to start out the season 3-5. This is a Grizzlies team that defeated the Clippers in the first round of the playoffs last season and eventually went on to the Western Conference Finals before losing to the San Antonio Spurs. This Grizzlies team sports the exact same starting lineup as last season’s, but they are missing a key piece in former coach Lionel Hollins. Hollins was inexplicably let go after leading the Grizzlies to new heights the last three years, including last season’s Conference Finals appearance, a first for the franchise. The team also may be regretting the Rudy Gay trade, as Tayshaun Prince has regressed notably on the offensive end and no longer has the same defensive presence as he did in his Detroit Piston days.

Frontcourt: Even though the Grizzlies have struggled thus far, the team’s frontcourt is still amongst the best in the league. The key to the Grizzlies’ success starts with center Marc Gasol, brother of Pau. Gasol is the NBA’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year, and remains the key cog in the Grizzlies’ defensive schemes. However, the Grizzlies’ “grit-and-grind” style of play has not shown up thus far this year, as they come in ranked 15th in the league in points per game. Offensively, Gasol is having a solid season averaging 16 points per game. Like his brother, Marc is also a great facilitator and the Grizzlies run lots of offense through him in both the high-post and the low-post.

Zach Randolph has been the heart-and-soul of the Grizzlies through their playoff successes the last three seasons. Randolph has been one of the most consistent low-post scorers in the NBA since he entered the league. A below-the-rim player, Randolph is as tough as they come on the low block and also has a soft touch on his jumper out to eighteen feet. Randolph comes in with modest numbers so far at 12.6 points and 8.1 rebounds a night, but he’s also only playing about 28 minutes per game. He remains their go-to player on offense, but at 32 years old and 13 seasons in the League it’s fair to ask whether he is starting to regress. Jordan Hill’s insertion into the starting lineup comes with perfect timing, as he is the best equipped on the Lakers to guard Randolph.

Backcourt: While many of the Grizzlies’ players have stumbled out of the gates, point guard Mike Conley has come into his own not only in the beginning part of this year, but also in last year’s playoffs. He comes in as the Grizzlies’ leading scorer at 20.1 points per game to go with 5.3 assists a night. Conley is extremely quick and is the only player on the team’s roster that is capable of creating off the dribble for himself as well as others on a consistent basis. He also does an excellent job of protecting the ball and rarely turns it over. Steve Blake and Jordan Farmar must focus on keeping Conley out of the lane and forcing him into jump-shots, as he still struggles to hit from beyond the arc (27% on the year).

Tony Allen starts at shooting guard for Memphis. Allen remains one of the best perimeter defenders in the league, but his value is minimized in this one because the Lakers without Kobe don’t possess a strong scoring presence on the wing. Allen is a poor shooter who can be doubled off of if Gasol and Randolph get good position on the block. Jerryd Bayless off the bench is a player the Lakers must keep an eye on. He has played poorly through the first eight games, but he has the capability to put up points in a hurry off the bench. The Lakers have to focus on keeping him out of the paint as well.

Keys to Lakers Victory: 
Defensive Rebounding: The Grizzlies, with Gasol and Randolph, are historically an excellent offensive rebounding team. This season, however, the team has struggled on the boards and rank 27th in the league in total rebounds per game. The Lakers have been an outstanding rebounding team this season behind Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill, and rank third in the league in total rebounds per game. The Lakers must dominate the glass in this one.

Pack The Paint: The Spurs demonstrated the defensive formula to defeating the Grizzlies in last year’s playoffs when they refused to let Randolph and Gasol beat them and conceded outside shots to Memphis. Though the addition of Mike Miller, who is one of the league’s top three-point shooters, helps out some, no one else on the roster is a reliable option from beyond the arc. The team hits on only 34% of their attempts from three on 15 attempts a night. The Lakers should dare the Grizzlies to beat them from the outside.

Sustained Energy: The Lakers’ energy level has fluctuated greatly between games this season. In their wins, they have come out quickly and been able to sustain their aggressiveness throughout. The insertion of Wesley Johnson and Jordan Hill to the starting lineup was the right decision, and hopefully it pays dividends.

Memphis Grizzlies (3-5) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (4-6)
7:30 PM PST, November 15, 2013
Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
TV: TWC SportsNet
Radio: ESPN
Radio 710 ESPNLA

Grizzlies Projected Starting Line-up
PG: Mike Conley
SG: Tony Allen
SF: Tayshaun Prince
PF: Zach Randolph
C: Marc Gasol

Key Reserves: SF Quincy Pondexter, SG Mike Miller, PG Jerryd Bayless

  • LakeShow

    Please please please Grizzlies, please beat Lakers so that we can get Wiggins/Jabari/Randle/Exum/Smart!

    I’m willing to sacrifice one season for this. Use the time to develop Xavier, Johnson, Hill, Kelly, Harris Sacre so that next year, we’ll have even stronger bench than this season.

    Kobe + lottery player + 1 – 2 top FA + developed role players = championship!

    Even after Kobe retires, Lakers are in good hand with the lottery player carrying the team. Worth tanking the season!

    • Ivann

      Stop and leave, NOW!

      • LakeShow


    • Lakers Fan

      As much as I want the Lakers to tank, they won’t. It is the most logical thing to do considering Kobe could sit out this entire season and come back 100%. It would also set us up with a future star when Kobe leaves. Not only that, but it would set us up to win a championship next year considering the cap space we will have. But tanking is not a part of this team’s repertoire. But hey maybe we will still end up with a future star, whether we tank or not. This is a deep draft, one of the best in NBA history. So we should just ride this season out, good or bad.

      • LakeShow

        The idea of Lakers developing a future HOF really give me excitement more than just sign top FAs like we did with D12 and Nash. See how things turn up. One left, one too old to play regularly. Plus, it’s really embarrassing to see Lakers practically begging for D12 to stay with all those banners on the steet. Talk about pride!

        • Lakers Fan

          Yea I said the said thing. That was pure insult to the pride of this Lakers franchise. But they will get at least one or two top free agents this summer. Considering Nash and Gasol more than likely won’t be back next year, I think they should go after Bledsoe and Monroe. Monroe and Hill in the paint would be death to any team. That’s all to go along with our 2014 first round pick. I’ll enjoy this season, but I’ll be more than ecstatic when next season starts. Hopefully we’ll have a new coach as well.

          • LakeShow

            Bledsoe and Monroe would be a great addition to Lakers considering their ages and talents. I don’t know if it is possible to get them considering both will get qualifying offer from their teams but I don’t want Lakers to go for old top free agents because to create chemistry, it takes time and we have better chance with younger players.

            Fans here keep saying that we can’t win with the draft pick but only from the free agency but we already failed twice whenever Lakers created “super team” – Payton + Malone & Nash + Dwight. As if people here keep forgetting that we got Kobe from the draft (we traded player in order to get the draft player) and Bynum from lottery. Both ended up with championships. We didn’t need “super team”, we just need to surround them with good players but it all STARTED FROM THE DRAFT. It’s NOT just from the free agency!

            Plus, people here seems keep forgetting that we win the last 5 championships because of Phil Jackson! Meaning that without him, we need an even better team. No team would be foolish enough give up their young stars to the Lakers. We have nothing to give back in return. What other options do we have other than tanking in order to get future superstar?

            People keep saying that Mitch could pull of something via free agency. If it’s true and easy to do, why can’t he just do it. We got D12 because he acting childishly and didn’t want to play for Magic anymore, while Nash wanted out because of his family plus his age. Are we expecting someone like Kevin Love or Durant suddently acting like D12? Not going to happen! Like I said, if it’s easy for Mitch to get these good young players, why can’t he just do it? I’m not that delusional.

          • Lakers Fan

            I’m a realistic fan. I believe that it is time Laker fans realize that we have to depend on the draft now. We can’t always be on top, and that’s what fans want that keep relying so much on free agency. Not saying we shouldn’t sign free agents, but we have to start looking into the draft now considering it’s not just easy to snatch another star player from their current team like we used to. The Lakers right now is not a desirable destination for star players. Nobody will want to come play for an old team. That’s why I’ve been saying let this be an auditioning year for these young players so we can build towards the future. And if our bench continues to play the way they have played, then we will just have to focus on getting the proper starting lineup.That’s why I said I hope we can snag Bledsoe and Monroe in free agency cause that can solidify our starting lineup. Then we can add in our first round draft pick.

          • meep

            yup times are changing more and more players are more willing to stay with one team. that why guys like wall and George are signing long term. i would love to get a top draft pick im just not for tanking and it hard for me to get behind tanking. i just want the lakers to have a good team. and the track recorded of most top ten picks make me think if even getting a top ten pick is a good idea and will it pan out.

          • Lakers Fan

            Believe me bro, I’m all for the Lakers being good. But my whole point is based on the fact that the Lakers are not who they once were. That’s why I want them to get a future star in this draft rather we tank or not. If we tank, we are guareenteed a top 10 player. That’s a good way to start looking into the future past Kobe. If Kobe leaves and we are left with a bunch of nobodies on the team, then we really are in for it. That’s why we need to get a future star in this draft and I think we an get one if we get a top pick.

          • meep

            the problem some fans think we can get who ever they want. some people didnt even believe me when i said lakers wont have a chance at paul george. since i said there a good chance he will stay a pacer and i was right. im all for wanting to build though the draft but i also think lakers dont have to tank to get a good player. since most of the time alot of the top 10 players never pan out. look at the lakers there best work was when they got i believe both kobe and bynum with the 12 i believe lakers could get a pretty good player even if it not a top ten pick. like i said in another post guys like Doug McDermott could still be there past the top ten.

    • meep

      only way lakers tank if we trade pau and kobe doesnt come back this year. i dont see either happening any time soon, with the rumors this is a deep draft i think lakers could get a future star later in the first round and dont need to tank. guys like Doug McDermott should be out i believe lakers know what to do come next off season and if they truly wanted a top 5 pick they wouldnt have sign the guys we did. plus if kelly and harris turn out to be decent players they could be pieces to help build for the future

  • Lakers4Life

    The situation with the Grizzlies just proves how much the head coach can impact a team. This is exactly why Dumbtoni needs to be kicked out of here so he can go eat some Pringles in his newly purchased house while the Lakers gear up for a decent season and future championships to come.

  • Paytc

    This should be another tough matchup for the Lakers. They will definitely need Hill,Henry,Farmar,and Kaman to get some good minutes. Then Pau has to be the better Gasol on the floor to better our chances. I don’t think our starting 5 matches up very well with their starting five (on paper that is),but if we “step up ” our effort who knows? All we can do is hope MDA puts the most capable on the floor and let the game decide who wants it more. IF we can get hot from the 3 point range and play some good defense we should be fine. Defense is more reliable than getting hot from 3 point range. So I’d rather lean on defense but…..Defense takes more “EFFORT” .

    Go Lakers !

  • LakersHeatBeef

    The Lakers gotta find the root of the problem on defense,root it out.Toss in a new plan get rid of the root of the problem.Take out the root kitty bar the door all hell is going to break lose within the Lakers Organization if they don’t start stringing together some wins.Lakers gotta detect the problem and delete it put in the chest of trash.Get rid of that guy,whoever is found liable for the root of the problem will not be here next season IMO.Get you’re ish together Lakers,it’s 10 games in and no signs of desire or want.No excuses STEP UP!!!!!!!!

    Go Lakers!Record 4-6