Lakers vs. Grizzlies Preview: Fade LA on the Second Leg of a Back-to-Back

Tyler Schmidt breaks down Wednesday's Los Angeles Lakers vs. Memphis Grizzlies matchup and shares his best bet.

Lakers vs. Grizzlies Odds

Lakers Odds +6
Grizzlies Odds -6
Over/Under 227.5
Time 8 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

Can the struggling Los Angeles Lakers find a way to get back-to-back road victories for the first time this season? They shot the lights out in their victory over the Houston Rockets last night and scored their most points in a regulation game all season (132).

The Memphis Grizzlies have been one of the most surprising teams this season. Their recent hot streak has them hosting a home playoff game in the  if the playoffs started today. Can they outlast the King at home like they did earlier this month?

This should be an exciting fast-paced Western Conference clash. Let’s dive in!

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Lakers Searching for Answers on Both Ends

After losing five-straight games, the Los Angeles Lakers were victorious in a shootout last night over the Houston Rockets 132-123. To get our of their skid, they needed triple-doubles from both LeBron James and Russell Westbrook.

The Lakers look to make it back-to-back road victories for the first time this season tonight against the Grizzlies. In their last meeting in FedExForum earlier this month, the Lakers lost 108-95 despite a James triple-double. The under has hit in each of the past eight games when these two teams meet at FedExForum.

Not only did the Lakers not cover their last game in Memphis, but covering the spread has been a real struggle for them all season long. They have failed to cover in 22 of their 35 games with the under hitting in 19 of those 35. They have only played 15 road games this season and have a mediocre 7-8 record.

A big reason why they have struggled is they don’t take care of the ball. They rank 28th in turnovers with 15.7 per game. Westbrook ranks second in the NBA with 4.7 turnovers per game while James ranks 11th with 3.5 per game. They lead the league in Pace this season, but that hasn’t worked out as they have allowed 112.6 points per game, which is the fourth-highest in the league.

The Lakers will once again be without All-Star forward Anthony Davis. Losing Davis is a big loss, especially on the defensive end. Their Defensive Rating drops from 108.8 to 112.2 without Davis in the lineup this season. He leads the Lakers in rebounds with 9.9 per game and blocks with 2.0 per game.

36-year-old LeBron James will look to continue to carry the heavy load. He has scored over 30 points in five-straight games. James is averaging a team-high 27.6 points per game. That is the most points per game he has averaged since 2009-’10 on the Cleveland Cavaliers. This will be his second back-to-back game all season. James scored 33 points in his last back-to-back against a pitiful Thunder team. This Grizzlies team is a completely different opponent.

Can the Balanced Grizzlies Keep Covering?

The favored Memphis Grizzlies have won back-to-back games and 12 of their last 16 overall. They have climbed up to fourth in the Western Conference standings with their recent run and are six-point favorites tonight.

Opposite of the Lakers, the Grizzlies have covered in 20 of their 35 games. They are 11-8 at home this season but have lost their two most recent home games to the Thunder and Trail Blazers.

Oddly enough, the Grizzlies actually excelled without their star point guard Ja Morant in the lineup. They went 10-2 without Morant, while they are just 11-12 when he is in the lineup. Their overall numbers are a little skewed as they beat the Thunder 152-79. However, it is silly to think they are better without Morant.

Morant leads the Grizzlies in points, assists, Usage Rate, and minutes played. He hit the game-winner in their most recent game – an upset over the Suns! Morant is second on the team in rebounds and steals. However, the Grizzlies are a very balanced team. They have four players including Morant who average 16 or more points per game.

Where I really think the Grizzlies can cause havoc is on the defensive end. I mentioned the Lakers struggles taking care of the ball. Well, the Grizzlies lead the league in steals, and it isn’t particularly close with 10.4 per game. They have six players who average a steal or more per game and three more players who average 0.9 per game.

Don’t sleep on their offense either. The Grizzlies score 111.1 points per game which is the fifth-highest total in the league. They also rank fifth in Offensive Rating this season. They really get it going from the tip. The Grizzlies have scored the second most points in the league in the first quarter this season.

Lakers-Grizzlies Pick

Playing on a road back-to-back without Anthony Davis has me worried about this Lakers team. LeBron James has been fantastic, but not only is he scoring at an absurd clip lately, he has played the second most minutes per game in the league at 37.1. His only game playing fewer than 35 minutes all season was when he got ejected in Detroit. How much more does James have in the tank?

The Pace of this game should be very fast, but I still worry about this Lakers team keeping it close on the back-to-back. I like taking the Grizzlies in two spots tonight. I love their first quarter line of -1.5 as well as their full spread at -6.

The total worries me too much. Historically the number is telling us to take the under, but the Lakers’ Pace is so high with Westbrook and James leading the way. The Grizzlies can fill it up too, and it makes too much sense to just side with the Grizzlies!

Pick: Grizzlies -6, Grizzlies 1st Q -1.5 (-110)