The Lakers continue with the second game of their road trip, escaping on Friday night in Oklahoma City with a 3-point win. Now they face Memphis, a team they handled by 29 points in late October in Los Angeles. This game will be the second of a back-to-back for the Lakers, which is never an easy thing for an NBA team, though it should be mentioned that in their other back-to-back this season, the Lakers won by 26.
The Lakers got another up-and-down performance from LeBron James, who had 23 points and 14 assists, but also had five turnovers, following seven TOs in his previous game. He’s the Lakers’ starting point guard these days and while his passing is remarkable, it’s not a comfortable role for him and there will be mistakes.
The Grizzlies have not played since Tuesday and it was a well-timed break. After managing three straight wins by a total of seven points, Memphis was pretty well pounded on its home floor in two straight games, losing by 17 to Denver then facing a depleted Warriors team as homecourt favorites, the only time Memphis has been a favorite this year. It didn’t go well: The Grizz lost by 19.
That won’t be a problem on Saturday, not with the Lakers favored by 7.5 points.
Lakers vs. Grizzlies Preview
If recent history is a guide, this should be The Anthony Davis Show. Davis was stellar against the Thunder in their home-and-home series, scoring 34 points in L.A. on Tuesday and 33 in OKC on Friday, on a combined 22-for-43 shooting (51.2 percent). He was 7-for-12 from the 3-point line in the last two games, after starting the season shooting 25.0 percent from the arc.
That’s a bad sign for the Grizzlies, who have no one who can match up with Davis. The last time the two teams played, Davis had 40 points and his shot chart showed just how thoroughly he dominated inside. Davis took four shots outside the paint, missing two 3-pointers and splitting a pair of midrange shots. Davis made six of his 13 shots in the paint, which isn’t great, but he went to the free-throw line 27 times, making 26 of them. The Grizzlies have a potential defensive star in the middle in Jaren Jackson Jr., but Davis chewed him up in the first meeting—seven of Davis’ free throws came on fouls by Jackson, who had five fouls on the night.
Davis and the Lakers are among the best post-up teams in the league and the Grizzlies are 28th in the NBA at defending those plays, allowing 1.07 points per possession.
The Lakers have won six straight, but three of their last four wins have been tight and somewhat sloppy. This could be sloppy, too, something to keep in mind with the 224.5-point O/U. But the Grizzlies are overmatched in this one. Give the points, take the under and watch Davis pummel through the post to a win.
Lakers vs. Grizzlies Pick & Prediction
PICK: Lakers, -7.5
SCORE PREDICTION: Lakers 110, Grizzlies 99