The Los Angeles Lakers will look to get their first win of 2017 as the Memphis Grizzlies visit on Tuesday. It will be the second of three meetings between the two squads this season, with the first being a hard-fought win for the Grizzlies in Memphis.
It will be a much different game this time around, however, as both teams are largely healthy unlike the previous matchup. The Grizzlies seem to be expecting Marc Gasol to play despite some concern about his health.
If he does play, Gasol will be a huge part of the game. The center has had a phenomenal campaign up to this point, averaging a career-high 19.5 points per game while shooting nearly 42 percent from behind the arc.
That shooting will make him a tough cover for the Lakers as he will likely be matched up with Timofey Mozgov for much of the game. It has been made abundantly clear this season that Mozgov struggles to get out on shooters and defend outside of the paint.
The Lakers could counter this matchup by playing more of Tarik Black and Thomas Robinson on the Spaniard. Both of those players have much more quickness and can defend on the perimeter. The danger comes through their lack of size compared to Gasol which could make him a threat in the post.
Nevertheless, both Black and Robinson (especially when playing together) found success against the Raptors. They were able to smash their opponents on the offensive glass and could make up for any defensive deficiencies by doing that again on Tuesday.
The Lakers will also have to find a way to slow down Mike Conley. After being repeatedly hurt by Kyle Lowry in Sunday’s loss to Toronto, LA must come into this game with more focus to stop their opponents on the perimeter. That comes down to D’Angelo Russell putting in more effort at the point of attack.
The Grizzlies are a sound defensive team and will make it difficult for the Lakers to get off good shots for long stretches of the game. In order to win, Los Angeles will have to match that effort defensively, make sure they get shots up on nearly every possession (meaning, limit turnovers), and take advantage of Gasol’s lack of rebounding to get extra chances on offense.