Preview: Lakers look to keep rolling against struggling Grizzles

Oct 29, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) goes up for a shot as Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard (39) defends during the fourth quarter at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers put their seven-game win streak on the line against the struggling Memphis Grizzlies. While LeBron James sat out nursing a sore groin, they got contributions from almost everyone in their last game against the Golden State Warriors. They seem to be rolling at the right time, with wins over the Celtics and Nuggets included in the run.

Kuzma and Rondo

With the addition of Markieff Morris, the Lakers coaching staff and players have spoken how this could move Kyle Kuzma to his more natural position, the wing. In the previous game, it seemed to have worked. Kuzma had all 18 of his points come when playing next to Morris. He looks a lot more comfortable, as they put him on the ball in-screen actions getting to attack downhill. It allowed him to get in rhythm without being reliant solely on being a spot-up shooter. The Lakers would like to see that production continues as they get closer to the playoffs.

With LeBron being out against the Warriors, Rondo was tasked as the primary playmaker and did a nice job. He had six assists to go along with his 12 points in a starting role. When Rondo plays well and under control, the Lakers look like a juggernaut. In his last three games, he has had eight assists and only two turnovers. It would be a nice trend to continue tonight.

Some Load Management

The Lakers now hold a full seven-game lead in the loss column over both the Clippers and Nuggets for the one seed. Therefore it gives them the luxury of resting guys as we get near the post-season. There are a few guys besides LeBon that seem to be banged up.

After tonight’s game against the Grizzles in Memphis, the Lakers fly and play the Pelicans tomorrow in New Orleans. The Grizzlies themselves are on a back to back tonight, having just lost to the Kings at home. All this could be in the calculus for who plays and who doesn’t.

Desperate Grizzles

The Memphis Grizzlies are currently the eighth seed and are hanging on for dear life. They currently hold a two-game lead over the surging nine seed Pelicans but have lost four straight. The Grizzles also seem to have two of their most important pieces unavailable, in Jaren Jackson Jr (left knee injury) and Brandon Clarke (right quadriceps injury), per Grizzles PR. They still do have the likely rookie of the year though in Ja Morant, who the Lakers were able to hold to just five of 14 shooting and five turnovers in a Lakers home win the last time they played.

The Lakers most likely will be shorthanded, as will the Grizzles who are desperate for a win. A victory for the Lakers would give them their third eight-game win streak of the season and are trying to win their insane 18th consecutive western conference road game. This will be the final game between these teams before a possible first-round preview, and it could be interesting to see how the matchups go.

Game time: 5:00 p.m. PST




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