Matchup: Los Angeles Lakers vs Memphis Grizzlies
Records: Lakers (15-10), Grizzlies (15-9)
Where to Watch
Date: Sunday, Dec. 9
Time: 6:30 AM IST
TV: Sony Ten1
Location: FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN
This would be the first contest of the season between the Lakers and the Grizzlies, a matchup between the fifth and sixth seeds in the Western Conference.
Competitive or not, is something we will witness early Sunday morning but unfortunately, it's not a fully healthy Lakers roster traveling to Memphis for this game. Rajon Rondo is out with a hand injury while Brandon Ingram is not with the team on the road trip due to a sprained ankle, one he suffered in the first quarter against the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the Grizzlies have no injuries to their rotation and will continue playing the game in a fashion that suits and benefits them the most. In a time, where a majority of the league loves to push the pace of the game, predictably, Memphis plays with the slowest pace in the league - 96.68.
Playing at that pace does rank their offense at 25th in the league but its simple fundamentals along with their defense that keeps them in the hunt to win games. They are the fourth-best teams in turnovers averaged per game - 13.6. Yes, they are zagging while everybody is zigging but that's what is getting them the results. They are currently 15-9 through 24 games with the fourth-best defensive rating in the league (104.0).
They've had a couple of odd losses - vs New York and at Sacramento but at the same time they've won some games against contending teams such as the Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks and the young Denver Nuggets.
Including this Lakers' game, the Grizzlies play four of their next five at home before wrapping up four-game Western Conference trip just ahead of Christmas.
Like the Grizzlies, even the Lakers have been winning some of the past few games with their defense, especially since the acquisition of Tyson Chander. In 16 games with Chandler, the Lakers have gone 11-5 with a defensive rating of 104.4 that is ranked fourth-best in the league allowing the team to bounce back from a rough 4-6 start to the season.
Offensively, it's largely been LeBron James running the show despite averaging a career-low in minutes per game this season. Over the past 16 games, James is averaging 29.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 5.9 assists on 54.1% shooting from the field and 41.6% from beyond the arc.
Unfortunately, with the injuries to the team's key ball handlers, James will be handed more playmaking responsibilities and unfortunately, their favorable schedule just passed them. They have seven of their next ten games on the road including a Christmas day contest at the Oracle Arena.
Last Time They Played
Date: Mar. 27, 2018
Score: Lakers 100, Grizzlies 93
Lakers: Kyle Kuzma - 25 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 assists
Grizzlies: Andrew Harrison - 20 points, 9 assists, and 4 rebounds