A not-so-exciting matchup is ready for tip-off as the extremely-banged up Memphis Grizzlies (2-4) will host the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers (5-2). Down several starters and reserves, Memphis just added journeyman guard Tim Frazier to the roster. Expect him to get a few minutes at point guard in this game.
L.A. has played well, showing no signs of a championship hangover. It would actually be hard to show those signs, given that several of their key players this year were not on the team last year, from Montrezl Harrell and Dennis Schroder to Wes Matthews and Marc Gasol. All of them were brought in to help the Lakers win again.
On the other hand, Memphis will hope to keep things close. Jonas Valanciunas and Kyle Anderson have been doing what they can to help keep the team competitive, but it’s hard without young star point guard Ja Morant, who had scored 44 on opening night. Jaren Jackson Jr. is still working his way back at the moment. Dillon Brooks is doing well at scoring consistently.
The spread for the game has the Lakers serving as 9.5-point favorites. The over/under is set at 225.5.
L.A. Looks to Keep Momentum Up
So far, so good for these Lakers, even with the recent injury to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. When they found out he’d be out, L.A. inserted Kyle Kuzma into the starting unit. He seemed to play well with the stars, which was an excellent sign for his confidence moving forward.
Once again, the Lakers have a “Title or Bust” mentality. LeBron James isn’t getting any younger.
James and Anthony Davis have continued to play like top-five NBA players and make the Lakers a problematic team to defend. They can make shots all over the floor and dominate around the basket. It also helps that they have perimeter shooters to stretch opposing defenses thin.
Look for another solid performance from the young star, Talen Horton-Tucker.
Grizzlies Seeking an Upset
It will be an uphill battle for Memphis to come away victorious, but it can certainly happen for them. They are bristling with talent, even though a lot of it is currently sitting on the injured list. They are playing numerous rookies off their bench as they try and figure things out.
Valanciunas continues to post double-doubles, while Anderson hasn’t had this much offensive responsibility since his days at UCLA. He set a new career-high with 25 points earlier in the year, a surprisingly low number for a guy that has had starting opportunities often throughout his NBA career.
While it’s a small sample size early in the year, Memphis has played better on the road to start the season. They average nearly six more fouls per game at the FedExForum, and the Grizzlies are winless at home.
Lakers Win Big
It won’t be close in this one. A Lakers win is coming, and it could get out of hand in a hurry. These two played on Sunday, where the Lakers won 108-94. Expect a similar score Tuesday.