Who’s going to stop the freight train that is the Los Angeles Lakers? The Memphis Grizzlies think they’ll be able to hand the Lakers’ first loss this month, but it’ll take more than just confidence to down the reigning champions.
Catch this game live on Saturday, February 13, at 11 AM, Manila time
HOME TEAM: Los Angeles Lakers (20-6, 8-4 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Dennis Schroder
- SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
- SF: LeBron James
- SF: Kyle Kuzma
- C: Marc Gasol
The Lakers keep on winning, but fatigue could be starting to set in on LeBron James and company — if it hasn’t already. The Lakers extended their unbeaten run to six games after narrowly beating the Oklahoma City Thunder, 114-113, via overtime last Thursday.
It’s the third-straight game that the Lakers needed at least an overtime to get the job done. If anything, at least all those games were at STAPLES Center, thus minimizing the factor of further exhaustion for the Lakers, who are just 4-8 against the spread in home games, so far this season. The Lakers are facing the possibility of missing Anthony Davis again.
Davis did not play in the last two outings, leaving Kyle Kuzma getting starter minutes. Kuzma had 15 points and nine rebounds in 39 minutes against the Thunder, while LeBron scored 25 points to go with six rebounds and seven assists. James has averaged 25.8 points on 49.1 FG% and 40.1 minutes in the last six Lakers games.
The Lakers will try to stifle Memphis’ attack with their defense which is rated No. 1 in adjusted defensive efficiency, with opponents scoring just 106.1 points per 100 possessions.
The Lakers are 5-1 straight up in the last six meetings with Memphis.
ROAD TEAM: Memphis Grizzlies (10-10, 6-3 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Ja Morant
- SG: Dillon Brooks
- SG: Desmond Bane
- SF: Kyle Anderson
- C: Jonas Valanciunas
The Grizzlies finally snapped their four-game losing streak by defeating the Charlotte Hornets at home last Thursday, 130-114. The offensive outburst was a welcome sight for the Grizzlies, who had not shot better than 45% from the field in any of their previous four games.
Against the Hornets, Memphis registered a 50 FG% and hit an absurd total of 23 3-pointers on 49 attempts. Kyle Anderson exploded for 27 points and hit six 3-pointers in the win over Charlotte. It will be interesting to see if he could sustain that form, though that’s unlikely against the Lakers’ stingy defense.
That being said, the Lakers could be missing the services of their defensive anchor, Anthony Davis, and in that case, big man Jonas Valanciunas can feast against LA’s frontcourt. Valanciunas had 12 points and 15 rebounds (6 offensive) in the Charlotte game. Constantly surrounded by shooters, Valanciunas can make life hard for the Lakers at the post and on the glass.
Memphis is the second-highest scoring team in the paint, with 53.6 points per game in the shaded area. It’s also fourth in offensive rebounding percentage (24.9%).
Memphis has covered the spread in seven of its last 10 games away from home.
The Grizzlies will have to wait a little longer to record consecutive wins again, as the Lakers’ defense will fluster Ja Morant and company. The Lakers win this game, 117-108.