Memphis Grizzlies vs Los Angeles Lakers: Predictions and Odds

Memphis Grizzlies

Head Coach: J.B. Bickerstaff {All-Time 68-97 | HOU, MEM}

The Memphis Grizzlies can be found grasping at a chance to get back in playoff position as the sit tenth in the Western Conference. The Grizzlies are on a bit of a down-streak, as they are 3-7 in their last ten.

After a November that saw the Grizzlies battling for top of the Western Conference, the Grizzlies fell back to earth in December. Since the beginning of the holiday month, the Grizzlies haven’t only lost seven of ten but have competed against plus-.500 teams the entire time.

While the Grizzlies difficult December has been indicative of a difficult schedule, it also affirms the Grizzlies place in the Western Conference. They have two All-Star calibre players in Gasol and Conley, but little outside of those two.

Los Angeles Lakers

Head Coach: Luke Walton {All-Time 70-116 | LAL}

The Los Angeles Lakers are currently tied for fourth in the Western Conference with the Portland Trailblazers. The Los Angeles Lakers have been able to take care of business at home, going 11-4 at Staples Centre.

After going 1-2 on a quick Eastern Conference road trip, the Lakers are sure to relish a game at home before they are placed on Christmas Day duty against the Golden State Warriors.

It will be an interesting test for the Lakers as the Grizzlies are a strong defensive identity that will look to slow the pace of LeBron James’ Los Angeles Lakers. Should the Lakers running game be stifled, look for coach Luke Walton to depend on his reserves to produce in the half court.

What’s At Stake?

The all-time series between the Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Lakers is neck-and-neck. In 63 games, the Los Angeles Lakers lead the all-time series 32-31. In their last meeting on December 8th, the Memphis Grizzlies were blown out 88-111.

Should the Los Angeles Lakers win, they would be a game ahead of the Portland Trail Blazers who are currently tied with them for fourth in the West.

While the Grizzlies are further down in the Western Conference table, an additional win would have them tied for eighth in the West with the San Antonio Spurs.

Questions to answer

Will the Grizzlies defence sustain the Lakers attack?

Can Showtime outrun Grind City?

We are going to compare the Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Lakers, in an attempt to see who has the upper hand in this matchup.

The Grizzlies Are Great Defensively

The Grizzlies currently rank sixth in the NBA in defensive rating at 105. In steals, blocks, and turnovers, the Grizzlies currently rank fifth, second, and fifth respectively.

Between Jaren Jackson Jr. and Marc Gasol, there are few that can get over the two centres in the paint. To add to their inside presence, Mike Conley is a capable perimeter defender that tactfully corrals opponents into the path of his shot-blockers.

Against the Lakers, the Grizzlies will find a team that defends in a similar style. With the like of McGee and Chandler, the Lakers also like to funnel their opponent into the lanes of their shot blockers. The Grizzlies will have to rely on steady ball movement in order to move the defence and manufacture open looks.

The Lakers are 2nd in Fast Break Points

At 20.4 fast break points per game, the Los Angeles Lakers are second in the NBA in fast break points. With LeBron James surrounded by young and spry players, he has no reservation pushing the ball up court at every opportunity.

It isn’t only Lebron James who pushes the pace though. With the likes of Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart on the court, both are energetic guards that can both push the ball themselves and fill the lanes regardless of playmaker.

The Memphis Grizzlies are an intelligent and adaptable team. They won’t just let the Lakers crash the glass and run up the court. With the likes of Jackson Jr and Gasol, they can challenge on the offensive glass with the best of the league as well as drop back to stop the break. The Lakers will have to intelligently choose when to run and when to hit the boards if they don’t want the Grizzlies taking advantage of their style.

Memphis Grizzlies Roster Notes

F-C JaMychal Green (hamstring) is listed as day-to-day and will be questionable to play against the Lakers.

F Omri Casspi (illness) is listed as questionable to play.

G Mike Conley (hamstring) is likely to play, but listed as day-to-day.

C Joakim Noah (heel) is listed as questionable to play.

G-F Dillon Brooks (knee) is targeting a late-December return.

F Chandler Parsons (knee) is out indefinitely.

Los Angeles Lakers Roster Notes

G Rajon Rondo (hand) is still undecided as to when he will return, but is cleared to play.

C Javale McGee (illness) did not practice on Thursday and will be a game time decision.

F Michael Beasley (personal) is out indefinitely.

G-F Brandon Ingram (ankle) “felt good” in training and will likely return against the Pelicans on Friday and play against the Grizzlies on Sunday.

Has Kyle Anderson Panned Out?

On Monday, July 9, 2018, the Memphis Grizzlies signed 25 year-old Kyle Anderson to a four-year $37.156MM contract. After four seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, Memphis needed to shore up their wing position and acquired the former NBA Champion.

Affectionately named Slo Mo, Kyle Anderson does not exactly fill up the stat sheet. Averaging 7.2 points per game, 6.2 rebounds, and 3 assists, all while shooting just 24% from three. Not astounding numbers, but Anderson win shares are in the same league as current and historical players like Lamar Odom and Ben Wallace.

Anderson was not brought in to be a scorer, but to be the ultimate “glue-guy” for the Grizzlies. He rarely makes a mistake and does not put himself in difficult positions to create. If there were a statistic to measure the “hockey-assist” Anderson would surely be one of the top in the league.

Kyle Kuzma Can Do It Anywhere

A year ago, Kyle Kuzma was drafted by the Brooklyn Nets then flipped to the Lakers on draft night. Since then, you could say it’s been a clear win for the Lakers in that transaction.

Kuzma is the epitome of a modern NBA forward. Tall and strong, but fluid enough to run the court and switch on defence. In his second NBA season, Kuzma is averaging 18.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 2.2 assists on 48% shooting from the floor.

With Kuzma’s increase in output, he has generally been more productive. Unfortunately Kuzma’s three-point shooting has taken a hit this season. Converting on only 31% of his three-pointers, the Lakers will need Kuzma to be able to punish teams from three as their fast-break style leaves very few opportunities for him to create on his own.

Memphis Grizzlies vs Los Angeles Lakers Predictions and Odds

The odds will be updated as they are made available.