The Los Angeles Lakers are stuck between two shores: one of star-filled heroism and one of embarrassing, underachieving failure. As Aldofo Bioy Casares once said, "the sea is endless when you're in a row boat," and it is even more endless when all your rowers are beating each other with the paddles. However, there is a danger element to playing teams like the Lakers. If you are not paying attention, you get caught in the paddle-swinging crossfire.
Tonight the Grizzlies face off against the Lakers for the third and final time this season with much at stake for both teams. The Grizzlies are vying for playoff positioning and the Lakers are desperately grasping at the greased up life preserver that is their hopes of playoff inclusion. With a .5 game lead on the Utah Jazz for the 8-seed in the Western Conference, Kobe Bryant and Co. have potentially the hardest remaining schedule of any team in the league with five of their remaining seven games coming against playoff teams and the other two against the dangerous Hornets and Trail Blazers.
Whatever the Lakers' scenario may be, tonight is still a classic Brevin Knight "handle your business" game for Memphis if they hope to sustain their home court advantage chances. Limiting Dwight Howard's second chance points, marginalizing Bryant's trips to the free throw line and effectiveness against our bench (he played 47 minutes last game) and finding an offensive rhythm against a porous Laker defense are the keys to success in this very winnable game.
One final talking point before we prophesy, I have always enjoyed when the Gasol brother play against each other. The rivalry. The clandestine comedy. The pure domination by Marc. However, tonight I am watching Marc against the undisputed "could be" best center in the league, Howard. I realize Howard normally guards Zach Randolph in the low post position but on the opposite end, we should see the Howard-Gasol match up throughout the night. I am always interested as to how Marc will respond. Will he help in defense as much? Will his abdominal injury plague him in Howard post-ups? Can he play like the league-best center we all believe him to be?
All this and more tonight. For today's prophecies I want to make a small yet significant change to the schedule of Grind Prophecies. Because we here at GBB love our members and because we love giving away prizes, this month's competition for the Mike Conley jersey is only going to run through the end of the regular season. After that time, we will begin yet ANOTHER competition for the Grizzlies' playoff run. I know, this is very good news. So with seven games to go, it is off to the races toward another GP prize. Good luck!