As trade talk fills the air like LA fog, the Lakers (17-24) finish their three-game road trip tonight against the Memphis Grizzlies (26-14). The Lakers have lost three straight and nine of their last 11 games. It’s mid-way through the season and the Lakers are still trying to figure who and what they are as a team. Los Angeles can use injuries as an excuse but they still sit in 12th place in the West, four and a half games out of the playoffs. Mike D’Antoni has yet to find a lineup, or a rotation, that maximizes the embarrassment of riches the Lakers boast. The days of Kobe Bryant taking over a game when his team isn’t stepping up are over. Even more distressing, when Bryant has an off shooting night no one else can carry the Lakers with their scoring. It’s a scary time in Los Angeles, and it looks like it’s only going to get worse before it gets better.
The Lakers will play a Grizzlies squad that is cruising through the regular season in the middle of the pack of the Western Conference. The Grizzlies match up well with the Lakers, they have two talented big men in Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, a scoring threat in Rudy Gay, a lock-down defender in Tony Allen, and a quick guard that likes to drive to the basket in Mike Conley. Memphis made a seemingly minor trade yesterday, shipping Marreese Speights, Wayne Ellington, and Josh Shelby to Cleveland. However, the move means the Grizzlies won’t have to move a big contract like Rudy Gay or Zach Randolph before the trade deadline.
This will be the second matchup of the season between the two, with Memphis winning the first back on November 23, 106-98. In the last matchup, the Grizzlies’ starters dominated the Lakers, with all five scoring in double figures. Memphis now has considerably less depth, so expect the starters to play heavy minutes tonight.
#15 World Peace SF #22 Gay
#6 Clark PF #50 Randolph
#12 Howard C #33 Gasol
#24 Bryant SG #9 Allen
#10 Nash PG #11 Conley
The game tips-off at the FedEx Forum at 5:00PM PT on TWC SportsNet and ESPNLA 710.
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