The Memphis Grizzlies travel to Los Angeles to take on the LA Lakers at the newly named Cypto.com Arena (formerly known as Staples Center) in Los Angeles, California.
The Memphis Grizzlies find themselves occupying the fourth seed in the highly competitive Western Conference with a 27-14 record and are a little over five games ahead of the LA Lakers.
They head into this game currently on a franchise-equalling eight-game winning streak and will be eager to keep that run going. The Grizzlies have a better record on the road than at home, having won 11 of their last 12 road games. Their confidence should seemingly be on a high as they look forward to taking on LeBron James and Co.
Meanwhile, the LA Lakers seem to have found an ounce of consistency as they come into this game having won four of their last five. But, if you pull back a little, Los Angeles have lost five of their last 10 matchups, which leaves doubts over whether this run is just a flash in the pan.
The Lakers sit sixth in the Western Conference standings with a 21-19 record as they continue to hover around the 0.500 mark. They are 14-10 at home and with LeBron James’ current form, LA will be optimistic about their chances against the Grizzlies.
With that said, the LA Lakers will have extra motivation, in the form of revenge, as they have lost their last two matchups against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Fixture: Memphis Grizzlies vs LA Lakers | NBA Season 2021-22.
Date & Time: Sunday, January 9th; 9:30 PM ET (Monday, January 10th; 8:00 AM).
Venue: Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, CA
The Memphis Grizzlies have been one of the most exciting teams to watch this season, and have raised expectations and hopes around their postseason chances. As it stands, the team will have home-court advantage in the playoffs due to their present seeding.
The Grizzlies are on a stellar run which has seen them beat both Los Angeles-based franchises, the Brooklyn Nets and Western Conference leaders the Phoenix Suns. From here on out it’ll be up to the players and the coaching staff to sustain this level of play. Especially when they get to the postseason, as Memphis will want to avoid being eliminated in the first round.
Although the Grizzlies are still a long way away from being championship contenders, they have the right pieces in place to potentially challenge for the title soon.
Unarguably the best player of the Memphis Grizzlies, Ja Morant is having a season to remember thus far. In just his third season in the NBA, Morant is currently averaging 25 points, 6.6 assists and 5.8 rebounds while shooting the ball higher than 49% from the field and 39% from beyond the arc. He has also recorded five double-doubles this season for the Grizzlies.
While the Memphis-based side have done extremely well in the absence of Morant, the notion that they might not need him as much as they thought is premature.
Ja’s ability to attack the rim with ferocity and ability to carry a consistent threat from the perimeter has propelled him to an All-Star caliber level and takes the Memphis Grizzlies to another level with his presence.
With Anthony Davis continuing to be sidelined due to a knee injury he picked up against the Minnesota Timberwolves, and and Westbrook’s continued struggle to get on the same wavelength as his teammates. The Lakers have been forced to rely on role players and fringe players to step up and deliver, which is exactly what they’ve done in recent time.
The LA Lakers have won five of their last six games, with the only loss coming against the Memphis Grizzlies. As a team with championship aspirations, Los Angeles are finally starting to rack up wins and gain momentum. Pointing to head coach Frank Vogel seemingly finding the right balance between offense and defense with his starting lineup, which features LeBron James as the center.
But with the team languising in the 22nd spot in terms of offensive rating and in 15th spot for defensive rating, the LA Lakers know they have much work to do. Especially if they intend on going deep into the postseason this year.
With Davis out and Westbrook’s continued struggle to get on the same wavelength as his teammates, the onus is well and truly on LeBron James’ shoulders. Unsurprisingly, he James has done nothing but deliver for his team.
James is currently averaging 28.7 points, 6.6 assists and 7.4 rebounds this season while shooting the ball better than 36% from downtown and over 52% from the field.
Playing nearly 37 minutes a night, James has recorded three triple-doubles this season and 11 double-doubles for the LA Lakers. James is quietly making a case for the MVP award and will be a contender if his team’s record improves over the course of the coming months.
Point Guard – Ja Morant; Shooting Guard – Desmond Bane; Small Forward – Dillon Brooks; Power Forward – Jaren Jackson Jr.; Center – Brandon Clarke
Point Guard – Russell Westbrook; Shooting Guard – Avery Bradley; Small Forward – Malik Monk; Power Forward – Stanley Johnson; Center – LeBron James
Both teams are high on confidence coming into this game due to their respective winning streaks. The Memphis Grizzlies have won both previous matchups against the LA Lakers and seem to have their number this season. But with LeBron James playing like a man possessed, very few would bet against LA.
You can watch the action unfold between the Memphis Grizzlies and the LA Lakers on NBA League Pass. The game will also be broadcast locally on Bally Sports SE-MEM and Spectrum SportsNet.
Q. Who will win this game?
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