(Photo By: Ty Nowell/Lakers.com)

Lakers at Grizzlies: 3 Things to Know (1/15/18)

by Joey Ramirez
Digital Reporter

Here is what you need to know before the Lakers aim to extend their winning streak against the Memphis Grizzlies.

1) Randle went into monster mode
The Lakers wouldn’t have won four in a row if it weren’t for the bulldozing play of Julius Randle, who stepped up in his hometown of Dallas on Saturday.

Randle piled up 23 points and 15 rebounds, while saving his most important plays for overtime. Randle was at the crux of the Lakers’ OT offense, hitting two shots and sparking two more buckets with his screens.

Just one game removed from going scoreless for the first time this season, the fourth-year Laker did all of his work in the paint, including the game-icing put-back at the end of overtime.

The Lakers may have to lean on Randle even more heavily in this one, considering that Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram are both listed as questionable to play.

2) Lakers’ defense has been airtight
One of the constants during the Lakers’ four-game winning streak has been their active, communicative defense.

During this surge, opponents are averaging the league’s third-fewest points (95.3) on the second-worst field goal percentage.

In addition to making shot tough for opposing players, the Lakers’ defense has also found ways to make big plays in transition, ranking first in fast-break scoring (26.0), steals (11.0) and rebounds (43.0).

On the other end of the floor, they have been spreading the ball around while their shooters have heated up, as they are third in both assists (27.0) and 3-pointers (12.3).

The Lakers will need to focus on maintaining that defensive aggression and offensive ball movement, especially if Ball cannot play.

3) Memphis can’t be underestimated
Three weeks ago, a shorthanded Lakers squad lost to the Grizzlies by 10 on their home floor.

Now — again facing the challenge of potentially being down two of their best players — the Lakers must completely lock in and continue the unselfish, defensive-first style of play that has won them four straight.

In particular, they have to limit Tyreke Evans, who erupted for 32 points (14 on free throws), seven rebounds and seven assists when the Grizzlies visited STAPLES Center last month.

Plus, Marc Gasol remains among the league’s best pick-and-roll options and passing bigs.

Look for Memphis to try to grind the game down as much as possible, as they run the league’s slowest pace and will try to limit the Lakers in transition.

Injury Report
Brandon Ingram (mild left ankle sprain) and Lonzo Ball (sore left knee) are questionable.
Grizzlies: Mike Conley (left heel) and Chandler Parsons (right knee soreness) are out.

Tip-Off: 2:30 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet and Spectrum Deportes in L.A. TNT nationally
Radio: 710 ESPN and 1330 KWKW
Unis: Gold
Location: FedExForum — Memphis, Tennessee

Click here to view game notes for this contest.

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