Carmelo Anthony elevates for the shot

Three Things to Know: Lakers vs. Grizzlies - 10/24/21

by Matthew Barrero

The Lakers welcome Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies (2-0) for the final game of a three-game homestand. Pregame coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. PT on Spectrum SportsNet, with tipoff scheduled for 6:30 p.m. PT.

Here are three things to know before tonight’s game:

KEEPING UP WITH THE ‘KIDS’
Following an offseason revamp of their roster, the Lakers are now the oldest team in the NBA based on average age (30.6) and have 10 of their 17 players over the age of 30. The Grizzlies on the other hand are the second-youngest team (23.7) behind the Oklahoma City Thunder and have no player older than 28 (Kyle Anderson and Steven Adams).

While Los Angeles is still very much an athletic team, fatigue and minutes played can become a factor as the game progresses. In the two games played thus far, Anthony Davis, LeBron James and Russell Westbrook are top three in minutes (average of 35+) while the rest of the team has averaged under 20 minutes, with the exception of Kent Bazemore (27.0) and Carmelo Anthony (25.5).

For Memphis, all five of their starting rotation recorded 30 plus minutes in their first game against Cleveland and four out of the five starters played 31 plus minutes against the Clippers Saturday night. Not to mention the five extra players who added between 12-22 minutes off the bench in both games.

Ja Morant is the X-Factor to keep an eye on, after scoring 37 points (vs CLE) and 28 points (vs LAC) and finds most of his success with his speed and ability to drive to the basket.

BUILDING CHEMISTRY
During a TV timeout in the first half of Friday’s game, cameras caught Dwight Howard and Anthony Davis in a heated exchange with some mild physical altercation. Anthony Davis addressed it after the game.

“In house, what we do in the locker room and what we say, we keep it to ourselves,” Davis said. “After the situation, me and DH [Howard] talked about it, and we left it at that.”

Howard emphasized Davis’ remarks and knows the passion each individual on this team carries. Additionally, Howard spoke on the intensity prior to tipoff, knowing Phoenix has knocked around Los Angeles not only in last year’s playoffs but twice during this year’s preseason.

“Everybody was upset,” Howard said. “We just got to control our emotions and we’re going to figure it out. We got 80 more games. Even Coach said he got to get better controlling his emotions [referencing Frank Vogel’s technical]. So, we all got to understand that we got to stay positive, but we also got to stay humble. We’re going to get what we need to get out of this season.”

IT’S STILL EARLY
The Lakers dropped their first two games at home for the first time in franchise history. have started the regular season 0-2 for the fifth time since the 2010-11 season and of those occurrences, Los Angeles made the playoffs on two of those occasions (2011-12, & 2012-13).

While it’s never ideal to start any season on the wrong foot, Frank Vogel knows the team’s early struggles can diminish sooner than later.

“We played two tough teams to guard that are connected with their systems,” Vogel said. “We still have a strong belief of who we can be and the moves we can make. I think it’s going in the right direction, but frustration is not winning. These are some of the greatest players to ever play because of their competitive spirit, so it you don’t win there’s going to be frustration.”

LeBron knows firsthand what it takes to build a team with star talent from the ground up from joining the “Big 3” in Miami with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh to returning to Cleveland for a second stint bringing Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. In his first season for both teams, LeBron did not win their respective opening games. In his first season in Los Angeles, the Lakers started 0-3 before winning their first game.

“I know the shortcomings that happen when you are trying to build something special,” James said. “It doesn’t happen overnight. As much as you want it, you’re going to get frustrated because you know what you are capable of, you know what the team can be capable of. It just takes time. You’ll know when that time is, and right now we have to continue to push.”

The Lakers will look to avoid their second 0-3 start in four seasons.

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