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Los Angeles Lakers at Memphis Grizzlies Game Preview and Prediction

The Western Conference foes will meet at the FedExForum on Monday when the Los Angeles Lakers take on the Memphis Grizzlies, hoping to avoid the fourth consecutive road defeat and return to .500, while the hosts are looking to snap the four-game losing streak and avoid the third home loss in a row. Los Angeles has been a better rival in the recent H2H duels as they won five of the last eight meetings and this will be their third clash in this season, and the series is currently tied at one as Memphis beat the Lakers in the previous encounter in late December in Los Angeles.

NBA: Monday, February 25, 2019, FedExForum, Memphis, Tennessee, 8:00 PM ET

 

Los Angeles Lakers suffered another blow in the playoff race with a loss to the Pelicans

Los Angeles continued with poor displays in 2019 as they suffered a fifth defeat in the last seven games; despite defeating the Houston Rockets at home following a six-game road trip, the Lakers lost to the New Orleans in the next game on the road. The Lakers now dropped to the 29-30 record and are currently sitting in the 10th position in the Western Conference with 13 wins behind the conference and Pacific Division leaders Golden State Warriors, four wins behind the city rivals and the 8th placed Los Angeles Clippers, while they are six wins ahead of their next opponents Memphis Grizzlies. With 23 games to go in the regular season, the Lakers need to improve if they want to keep their playoff hopes alive and this one is a must-win for them.

Brandon Ingram led the Lakers in a 128-115 loss to the Pelicans with 29 points and five rebounds; LeBron James posted a double-double of 27 points and game-high 12 assists, along with seven boards and game-high four steals, while Kyle Kuzma contributed with 16 points, game-high eight rebounds, and seven dimes. Los Angeles was excellent from the floor as they made 54.3 percent of their shots but managed to win only one quarter and lost the game because of the poor shooting percentage from the foul line, missing nine of 26 attempts (65.4%). Also, the Lakers committed even 23 turnovers in opposite to New Orleans’ 17, and Ingram and James combined for nine of them.

Lonzo Ball (ankle) has been dealing with a bone bruise in his sprained left ankle it could extend his recovery past six weeks. He might be out until the middle of March, which should mean more minutes for Brandon Ingram and Reggie Bullock, while Mike Muscala (right ankle sprain) will play against the Grizzlies on Monday.

The Lakers have the 14th offense in the NBA that averages 112.3 points per contest, while their defense is 23rd in the league as it allows 113.6 points per game. Los Angeles’ rebounding is in top 5 as they are recording 46.9 boards per game (5th), while they are not that good when it comes to assists per contest with 25.0 dishes a night (12th). Los Angeles is 7th in field goal percentage as they have 47.4 percent from the floor and 28th from downtown with 33.8 percentage, while they are 20th in the NBA with 10.3 three-pointers made per game.

Memphis Grizzlies fell short to Cleveland on the road

Memphis opened February with three wins in five games but they suffered four consecutive defeats since including the latest one to the Cleveland Cavaliers on the road. The Grizzlies dropped to the 23-38 record and are in the 14th place in the Western Conference with even 19 wins behind the conference leaders Golden State Warriors, ten wins behind the playoff places, and 11 wins behind the Southwest Division rivals Houston Rockets. The postseason is unlikely for the Grizzlies and they will likely end the season in one of the last three places in the West but considering they are 12 wins ahead of the bottom-placed Phoenix Suns, it seems that they will not end the campaign at the very bottom.

Jonas Valanciunas led the Grizzlies in a 112-107 loss to the Cavaliers with a double-double of 25 points and team-high 11 rebounds, along with a couple of blocks; Mike Conley followed him with 18 points, five boards, and game-high three thefts, Joakim Noah chipped in with 16 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and two rejections, while Delon Wright finished the tilt with 15 points and seven boards. Memphis lost the opening quarter by 13 points and although they improved defensively in the second and third quarter, Cleveland edged them in the final 12 minutes thanks to Kevin Love who had 32 points and 12 rebounds. The Cavaliers dominated the boards (52-43) and assists (25-18), while the Grizzlies were awful from downtown as they made just five triples on 25 attempts (20%).

Mike Conley (left knee soreness) is probable for Monday’s game vs. the Lakers; Jaren Jackson Jr. (quad) is dealing with a deep bruise and will miss this one out, while Kyle Anderson will visit a shoulder specialist for a third time next week as he remains on the sidelines.

The Grizzlies have the worst offense in the NBA that averages 100.8 points per contest, while their defense is the second-best in the league as it allows 104.0 points per game. Memphis’ rebounding is among the weakest as they are recording 40.5 boards per game (29th), while they are better when it comes to assists per contest with 23.5 dishes a night (20th). Memphis is 24th in field goal percentage as they have 44.9 percent from the floor and 29th from downtown with 33.6 percentage, while they are 30th in the NBA with 9.2 three-pointers made per game.

Trends:

Los Angeles:

  • 4-1 ATS in their last five games following an ATS loss
  • 4-1 ATS in their last five vs. Western Conference rivals

Memphis:

  • 6-17 ATS in their last 23 games following an ATS loss
  • 7-20 ATS in their last 27 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game
  • 1-5 ATS in their last six vs. NBA Pacific rivals
  • 3-15 ATS in their last 18 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game
  • 1-6 ATS in their last seven games played on Monday

The Winner Prediction

Los Angeles won six out of the previous ten H2H encounters including two of the last three, while the Lakers were victorious in the past two meetings at the FedExForum. The road team is 4-1 ATS in the last five duels and Los Angeles cannot afford to lose this game and they already beat Memphis in Tennessee this season, and I am backing them to do it again. The Grizzlies will rely on their defense, which is one of the best in the NBA, and they managed to defeat the Lakers in the most recent tilt at the Staples Center, allowing just 99 points in the process, but I don’t think their D will have a say in this one as I expect a big night from James, Ingram, and Kuzma, while the hosts don’t have a lot of offensive weapons and I am going with the Lakers’ offense to prevail here.

The Pick: Los Angeles Lakers -4.5 (-110)

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