Grizzlies vs. Lakers Preview: Back LeBron and L.A. to Win Their Fifth Straight Game

Jacob McKenna breaks down Sunday night's Memphis Grizzlies vs. Los Angeles Lakers game and shares his best bet.

Grizzlies vs. Lakers Odds

Grizzlies Odds +3
Lakers Odds -3
Over/Under 226
Time 9:30 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Memphis Grizzlies will end their short two-game West Coast road trip on Sunday night when they take on the Los Angeles Lakers.

Memphis has been one of the most surprising teams in the NBA this season, entering this matchup with a stellar record of 27-14 and riding an eight-game winning streak. One the other hand, the Lakers have had some ups and downs, but they appear to be finding a rhythm at the right time as they have won four straight games.

Both the Grizzlies and Lakers are heading in the right direction, and both teams have all of the momentum in the world coming into this matchup. But, will the Grizzlies overcome some absences and a back-to-back, or will the Lakers defend their home court and continue their winning streak?

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Versatile Grizzlies Continue to Step Up

Similar to many teams across the NBA, COVID-19 has affected the Grizzlies and will limit who will be available for them on Sunday.

Steven Adams and Xavier Tillman enter this matchup as questionable due to virus  protocols. In addition, Ja Morant and Kyle Anderson both sat out on Saturday against the Clippers due to injury and are both once again questionable. Finally, Dillon Brooks, who injured his ankle during Saturday’s contest, is also questionable.

Despite being shorthanded for several games recently, Memphis has dominated everyone who has stood in its path.

According to NBA Advanced Stats, the Grizzlies have an Offensive Rating of 116.8 during their eight-game win streak, a rather large increase from their season Offensive Rating of 111.9. Furthermore, this team has scored 110 points or more in seven of those eight wins while shooting 47% from the floor in that span, further exemplifying their depth and how efficient this team can be.

Memphis has also stepped up its play on the defensive end of the floor, even with some key defenders in Tillman and Adams being in protocols. The Grizzlies have held their opponents to just 42.6% shooting in their last eight games and are only allowing 103.3 points per 100 possessions, both of which are among the top two in the NBA during that span.

Ja Morant is obviously a huge reason for Memphis’ success, but this team has proven they can win without him. Earlier this season, Morant missed 12 straight games, but Memphis won 10 of those games, which once again showcased their incredible depth and versatility.

Lakers Finding Their Stride

Los Angeles has faced its fair share of adversity this season, and by no means did it go unnoticed.

As one of the most historic franchises in the NBA, people pay close attention to the Lakers. That has often led to plenty of scrutiny, especially this season as the Lakers struggled to begin the season, and many questioned the fit of Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis, and LeBron James together.

However, their play recently indicates that the Lakers have rounded a corner.

As previously mentioned, LA is in the midst of a four-game win streak, which just so happens to be its longest such streak of the season. In that span, the Lakers have a Point Differential of +62, showing that this team may finally be coming together.

They have scored at least 120 points in three of these four wins while shooting just under 51% from the field. Furthermore, as a team LA has shot 39% from behind the arc in that span as guys like Malik Monk and Avery Bradley have found a rhythm and have given defenses something else to think about.

Obviously LeBron James has done his part as well during this run. The King is averaging an incredible 33 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 5.8 assists in his last four games, putting to rest any doubts that anyone has had about him this season.

Grizzlies-Lakers Pick

This matchup features two of the hottest teams in the NBA right now, but I think the advantage lies with the Lakers on their home court.

Memphis has been great, but playing on Saturday night throws another element into this matchup. The Griz are 3-3 this season when playing in a back-to-back scenario, indicating they are not as strong of a team when they don’t have the chance to rest. Then you throw in their injuries to some star players mentioned above, and it appears they may simply be too shorthanded.

Memphis beat LA at the end of December when fully healthy, and I think this is a great spot for the Lakers to get revenge and make a statement.

Pick: Los Angeles Lakers -3 (-110)