Losers of four of the past five games, the Los Angeles Lakers arrive in Memphis, Tennessee in search of a bottle and carrying a heavy suitcase filled with the blues. The hometown Memphis Grizzlies may not welcome the Lakers with open arms, but Memphis understands LA’s pain. The Grizzlies have dropped five of the past six games. Both teams in Tuesday’s game are hurting from loss in more ways than one.
Los Angeles does not have a point guard due to a series of injuries that have sidelined all three point guards on the Lakers’ roster. The Grizzlies are without Marc Gasol, the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year a season ago.
Apart from the injuries, the Lakers and Grizzlies are in similar spots. Neither team can sustain consistent defensive effort. Memphis has allowed over 100 points in five of the past six games. No coincidence, the Grizzlies have lost all five of those games.
The Lakers have also struggled to play defense with any consistency, and the defensive balance has not yet re-calibrated following Kobe Bryant’s return. During the second half of Monday’s loss to the Atlanta Hawks, the Lakers gave up 67 points.
One of these two struggling teams will collect a win on Tuesday, and the Lakers’ arrival in Tennessee is a positive boost for Kobe Bryant and company.
Memphis has been a sad sight for the Grizzlies this season, as Zach Randolph and the Grizzlies are a dismal 5-9 at home. At 5-7 on the road, the Lakers are a better on the road than the Grizzlies are at home. The Lakers aren’t all that good on the road, so that provides a true understanding of how poor the Grizzlies have performed in Memphis this season.
Tuesday night’s game, however, will feature the Lakers playing in their fourth city in five nights.
From a personnel standpoint, the Lakers were struggling to think of ways to stop point guard Mike Conley. Conley put up 28 points on Friday, but that performance still resulted in a loss for the Grizzlies. However, Conley was unable to take part in morning shootaround and was ruled out of Tuesday's game with a thigh bruise. With Conley out, the Lakers have no excuses not to walk out of Memphis with a win.
The Lakers at Grizzles tips off at 5:00 pm PST.