1.) It has been nearly three weeks since you and I sat down and discussed the Grizzlies and Lakers. Since October 29th, the Lakers have won 10 of their last 11 games. Sitting at 13-2 in this young season, what has been the key to the Lakers six game winning streak?
The key to the Lakers winning streak has been their consistency on the defensive end. Since October 29th, the Lakers have led the league in blocks per game at 7.7 and a defensive rating of 100.1. They’ve also held teams to 31.9% on their 3-point attempts which is 3rd in the league. With Avery Bradley out, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has done a nice job of filling in for him.
2.) Tonight the Lakers face off with Memphis, and it is a big night for the Grizzlies. Tonight Memphis will debut their alternate court, and the very unique Vancouver Grizzlies uniforms at FedExForum. It can be a Memphis Grizzly or a Vancouver Grizzly, but who was a guy you enjoyed watching in Memphis throughout their career?
The first answer I want to give is Pau Gasol, but I think that might be a bit biased. So besides Pau, I’d have to go with Mike Miller. I remember thinking every three he’d shoot, it would go in. He had such a nice shooting stroke. He wasn’t the fastest guy, nor did he have the best handles, but he would still get buckets. Honorable mention goes to Grizzlies legend Hamed Haddadi, who was the first Iranian to play in the NBA.
3.) Since October 29th when the Grizzlies and Lakers faced off, Los Angeles didn’t have Kyle Kuzma and Rajon Rondo. Tonight, the Lakers should be at full strength. What has been your biggest takeaway with these two guys being healthy again?
My biggest takeaway from Kyle Kuzma is that since his first few games where he struggled on both ends of the court, he’s now been lighting it up from the three-point line and just seems comfortable again. In the last 5 games, he’s shot 13-28 (46.4%) on his 3-point attempts. Knowing that the defense is worried about his shot, he’s been utilizing the pump fake to get by the defenders to then attack the basket.
If I were Grizzlies fans, I’d be worried too because tonight’s going to be the debut of his goggles. For Rondo, he’s been solid off the bench and has been distributing the ball nicely. He’s 2nd on the team in assists with 6.0 per game. He still has his issues on the defensive end, but he’s improved from last season.
4.) The eye test simply says that the Lakers should win tonight. If you’re the Lakers, you are trying to build on a serious winning streak. What does Los Angeles have to do tonight to come out victorious in Memphis?
The Lakers can’t allow themselves to think this is going to be an easy win. They have to start off the game hot, which they’ve had some trouble with. With this being the Lakers 2nd game of a back-to-back, they need to get a decent lead so that they can rest both LeBron James and Anthony Davis for hopefully the entire 4th quarter.
5.) Last question is simple, what is your final score prediction tonight? Who are some guys you see having big games tonight in Memphis?
I see the final score being 118-103 with the Lakers getting the win. The Lakers did a decent job of defending Ja last game, but I can see him having a 20+ scoring night for the Grizzlies. I also hope he scores that much because he’s on my fantasy team, and I desperately could use it. I don’t see Anthony Davis having another 40 point, 20 rebound night against the Grizzlies, but I think he will have a big game once again for the Lakers.