(Photo By: Ty Nowell/Lakers.com)
Lakers vs. Grizzlies: 3 Things to Know (12/27/17)
Here is what you need to know before the Lakers look to defend home court against the Memphis Grizzlies.
1) Kuzma’s scoring binges are no longer surprising
With 31 points in his last game, Kyle Kuzma is in the midst of a scorching stretch. He is averaging 27.8 over his last five outings, the fifth-most in the league behind a crop of perennial all-stars.
Only James Harden, Russell Westbrook, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving have scored more during this span.
Speaking of LeBron, Kuzma’s offensive binge on Tuesday was the most points dropped by a rookie on Christmas Day since “King James” went off for 34 in 2003.
Kuzma was able to tally his total by playing aggressively, with six 3-pointers and nine free throws inflating his production.
After this latest eruption, Kuzma now leads the rookie class in scoring with 18.1 points per game.
2) The Lakers could get a key piece back from injury
Brandon Ingram is listed as questionable for this game, and was a full participant at Tuesday’s practice.
The 20-year-old missed L.A.’s last contest due to a contusion on his right quad and tendinitis in his left quad, and the Lakers could certainly use his talents back in the rotation.
Ingram is the team’s second-leading scorer (16.0 ppg) and already one of the most effective slashers in the game.
That particular talent has opened up scoring opportunities for others, and the Lakers need someone who can do just that with Lonzo Ball (sprained shoulder) out of the lineup.
Ingram is averaging 5.2 assists over his last five games, and really finding his groove as a playmaker.
3) The Grizz are looking to snap out of a funk
It has been chaotic year for Memphis, which fired Coach David Fizdale after an eight-game losing streak and has since gone just 3-12 under Interim Coach J.B. Bickerstaff.
The Grizzlies play passable defense but average the league’s second-fewest points (97.1) of their own. Longtime point guard Mike Conley has been out since Nov. 13, compounding these issues.
But Memphis still does have two veterans capable of tilting a game their way.
Marc Gasol remains a pick-and-roll maestro, with the ability to get to the rim or pop out for triple (yet is shooting a career-low from the field and went just 4-of-16 on Tuesday).
And the Lakers will also have to worry about Tyreke Evans, who is averaging 26.0 points over his last three games, and ranks among the NBA’s top five in layups this season while also hitting 41.2 percent from deep.
Lakers: Lonzo Ball (left shoulder sprain) and Brook Lopez (right ankle sprain) are out. Brandon Ingram (right quad contusion, left quad tendinitis) is questionable.
Grizzlies: Mike Conley (left Achilles) and Wayne Selden Jr. (right quad) are out. Chandler Parsons (rest) and JaMychal Green (right knee soreness) did not play in Tuesday’s game at Phoenix.
Tip-Off: 7:30 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet and Spectrum Deportes
Radio: 710 ESPN and 1330 KWKW
Unis: MPLS Blue
Location: Staples Center — Los Angeles, California