The unofficial second half of the season is upon us and the Los Angeles Lakers will be hoping to use the next 29 games to get ready for the postseason with a fairly comfortable lead for first place in the western conference. That process will start on Friday night when they host the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Grizzlies are coming off a tough loss on Thursday night to the Sacramento Kings. The young team is desperately holding on to the eighth seed and any loss to a non-playoff team should motivate them to come out stronger the next time out to make up for it.
The Grizzlies are led by rookie phenom Ja Morant who is averaging 17.6 points per game and shooting 49 percent from the field. The athletic guard has a knack of taking over games with his aggressive drives to the rim. The Lakers, of course, have success meeting those types of players at the rim with the trio of Anthony Davis, JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard.
Still, the Grizzlies have enough weapons between Morant, sophomore big Jaren Jackson Jr. and other young talents like Dillon Brooks and Brandon Clarke to keep putting pressure on the rim and forcing the Lakers to guard multiple efforts.
The Lakers had a few close calls against poor competition before the All-Star break as fatigue caught up to them. They likely can’t have that kind of poor effort against the Grizzlies and expect to win. Memphis, as the Lakers might experience in the first round of the playoffs, plays hard and will make you pay for mistakes by running in transition with their young legs. It’s imperative that the Lakers take care of the ball and don’t take their competition lightly.
The Lakers host the Grizzlies on Friday at 7:30 PM PST on Spectrum SportsNet.