The (11-47) Los Angeles Lakers, on a six-game losing skid, have taken a one hour, fifty one minute flight, south (167-degrees from North) 483 nautical miles to Memphis, TN to battle the (32-23) Grizzlies at the FedEx Forum. In their previous game, the Lakers unable to buck the trend fell to Milwaukee 108-101. The purple and gold failed to slow the Bucks led by Giannis Antetokounmpo’s first career triple-double (27 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists). The game provided some positives; the Lakers had five double-digits scorers (Nick Young 19, both Kobe Bryant & Jordan Clarkson had 15 points, Lou Williams 14 and Branden Bass 11). As a matter of fact L.A. managed to outrebound Milwaukee (56-54).
Although this may be true, any success achieved goes out the window when held to 36.8-percent shooting (28-76) from the field, shoot 41.4-percent (12-29) from behind the three-point arc, commit 17 turnovers (leading directly to 20 points off of said turnovers/gifts), allow your opponent to win the assist battle (32-18) in addition to scoring 58 points in the paint. Let’s be honest, there is nothing worse than losing a game by seven points knowing that you shot 76.7-percent from the free throw line, making 33-of-43 attempts.
While in bluff city (Memphis); the largest city in the state of Tennessee, the largest city on the Mississippi river and the third largest in the greater southeastern United States the Lakers could visit National Civil Rights Museum– Lorraine Motel, experience the sights and sounds of Beale Street, Graceland, Memphis Rock and Soul Museum, Stax Museum of American Soul Music coupled with historic Sun Studio (known as the birthplace of Rock N Roll music, where the careers of Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison and Johnny Cash started). Equally important Sun Studio shared the same building with Sun Records, home of the first rock and roll single Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats’ “Rocket 88”, recorded in 1951 with song composer Ike Turner on keyboards which led the studio to claim status as the birthplace of rock & roll. Additionally, in the early 1950’s Blues and R&B artists such as Howlin’ Wolf, Junior Parker, Little Milton, B.B. Kings, James Cotton, Rufus Thomas and Rosco Gordon recorded songs for Sun Records.
While in the barbecued pork Capital of the World the Lakers could could have breakfast at The Pancake shop, experience Memphis dry and wet rub barbeque at Corky’s, Ribs at Charles Vergos’ Rendezvous, a turkey platter at Central BBQ, a chopped pork sandwich at Payne’s Bar-B-Que, Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken, Interstate BBQ, Dyer’s Burgers, The Bar-B-Que shop in Midtown, The Cozy Corner and Gibson’s Donuts. The Lakers lead the all-time series against the Grizzlies 48-27, however are 26-26 versus the Grizzles since the franchise moved to Memphis. The Lakers have gone 3-7 in their last 10 games at FedEx Forum.
In their first matchup of the season in Memphis on December 27, 2015, Lakers rookie forward Larry Nance Jr. had a breakthrough game in his 11th career start recording his first double-double posting 17 points and 11 rebounds. However, in a game decided long before the final buzzer the Grizzlies beat the Lakers 112-96. The Memphis Grizzlies rank 26th in the NBA in scoring (98.1 points per game), 29th in rebounding (41 rebounds), 21st in assists (21.1 assists) and 6th defensively (allowing 99.1 points per game). Memphis lost center Marc Gasol to season-ending injury, their leader in points (16.6), blocks (1.3) and second leading rebounder (7.0) although the Grizzles have six players that score in double-digits with a veteran laden bench.
Offensively, it is imperative that the Lakers do a do a solid job of moving, passing and cutting. Los Angeles must execute their offense, take care of the ball and limit their turnovers, keep the ball and the defense moving, in order to find the high percentage shot, improving their spacing on the floor, constantly screening their opponents and playing in a decisive manner. Defensively, it is mandatory that the Lakers collectively get back in transition, stop the dribble penetration of Mike Conley and find a way to disrupt him from taking over the game, communicate on defense, surround Zach Randolph and make him play in a crowd, do a solid job defending the pick-and-roll play, challenge every shot, quickly rotate out to open shooters, box their men out and rebound.
Lakers: D. Russell, J. Clarkson, K. Bryant, J. Randle, R. Hibbert
Grizzlies: M. Conley, P. Hairston, M. Barnes, J. Green, Z. Randolph
Tip-off: 5:00 PM PST
• Los Angeles: TWC Sportsnet (Bill MacDonald & Stu Lantz)
• Memphis: Fox Sports Southeast (Pete Pranica & Steve Tuohy)
• Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (John Ireland & Mychal Thompson)
• Memphis: ESPN 680 AM Sports Radio Memphis WMFS (Eric Hasseltine & Elliot Perry)
• Kobe Bryant (Sore Right Shoulder and Dislocated Finger) Probable
• Larry Nance Jr. (Sore Right Knee) Questionable
• Marc Gasol (Foot Surgery) Out
• Tony Allen (Knee) Day-to-Day
• Chris Anderson (Knee) Out