Lakers vs. Grizzlies: 3 Things to Know (2/21/20)

by Joey Ramirez
Digital Reporter

Here is what you need to know before the Lakers return from the All-Star Break against the Memphis Grizzlies.

1) Playoff preview?
If the season were to end today, the Lakers and Grizzlies would be facing off in the first round of the playoffs. And with the Lakers owning a four-game lead for first place (and Memphis with a 3.5-game lead on eighth), it’s certainly not a stretch to think we could see this matchup in mid-April.

The Lakers have, frankly, dominated this season. Along with the second-best record in the NBA, they are one of three teams (Milwaukee, Boston) among the top five in both offensive and defensive rating. Memphis — which has surged well past expectations for such a young squad — is about middle-of-the-pack in both departments, but definitely on the upswing.

The Grizzlies have won 15 of their last 20 games, thanks largely to some shutdown defense. Since the turn of the New Year, Memphis ranks 5th in the Association in defensive rating.


2) ADominant
The Lakers and Grizzlies haven’t played each other since the 4th game of the season, so here’s a reminder of what happened. Anthony Davis entered historic territory, with a 40-point, 20-rebound masterpiece.

AD became just the sixth Laker to ever post a 40/20, joining literally a list of legends: George Mikan, Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O’Neal. Memphis didn’t have the size to stop him, as Davis hit a franchise-record 26 free throws (and only missed once).

Oh, and he did it all in just three quarters of game play.


3) Ja’s the real deal
Few players have ever brought as much excitement in their rookie season as No. 12 on the Grizzlies.

Ja Morant has been an absolute sensation this season, leading his draft class in both scoring (17.7) and assists (7.0). But even more than the numbers, Morant’s flare is what has truly made this maiden voyage special. He is already one of the most athletic players in the game, rising for some of the league’s most violent dunks despite his thin stature. He also has elite passing vision and a lethal, crafty floater game.

Morant is joined by low-post brute Jonas Valanciunas, ultra-athletic sophomore Jaren Jackson Jr. and fellow breakout rookie Brandon Clarke. The Grizzlies have already arrived.

Injury Report
Lakers:
Anthony Davis (right index finger sprain) is probable. DeMarcus Cousins (right knee rehabilitation) is out.
Grizzlies: Justise Winslow (back injury) and Grayson Allen (left hip injury) are TBD.

Tip-Off: 7:30 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 ESPN and 1330 Tu Liga
Unis: Gold Icon
Location: STAPLES Center — Los Angeles, California

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