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NBA Game Preview: Los Angeles Lakers at Memphis Grizzlies

Dec 9, 2021

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Game: Los Angeles Lakers at Memphis Grizzlies  

Time: 8:00 p.m. ET 

Odds: Lakers -3.5, Memphis +3.5 

Total: 222.5 

The Lakers are catching Memphis at a good time. Los Angeles (13-12) is currently sixth in the Western Conference standings. Memphis is fourth. The Lakers are healthy for the first time in a long time and have won three of their last four games. The Grizzlies had won five straight but dropped a 104-96 decision to Dallas last night. Memphis did all that without its best player, Ja Morant. 

In the Lakers 117-102 win over Boston on Tuesday night, LeBron James scored 30 points. Teammates Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook both had double-doubles. All three will need to be on their game tonight as they go up against a Memphis defense that is very good.  

Prior to the loss to Mavs last night, the Grizzlies defense gave up 90, 90, 79, and 91 points in its previous four games. Over its last six games, Memphis is allowing just 92.5 points per game. The Lakers are averaging 120 points a game over their last six. Something has to give.  

What could have a big effect on tonight’s outcome is who actually suits up for Memphis. Morant is out indefinitely, but a number of Grizzlies role players are listed on the daily injury report. Kyle Anderson and Brandon Clarke are both listed as questionable. Further down the bench, Sam Merrill and Ziaire Williams are also on the injury report as questionable. 

With James, Davis, and Westbrook all back in action, the only Laker of significance on the injury report is Trevor Ariza. He is out indefinitely with an ankle injury. The Lakers are starting to click as evidenced by their 3-1 record in their last four games. L.A. is fourth in the NBA in scoring and is beating people with the fastest pace in the NBA. The Lakers average 107.1 possessions per game. 

What the Lakers have not done well is cover the spread. They are just 3-6 ATS in their last nine games. The Lakers are 4-5 ATS on the road this season and in their last 17 games against a Western Conference opponent, L.A. is just 3-14 ATS. 

Memphis, on the other hand, is 5-1 ATS in their last six games. What’s interesting about the Grizzlies is their scoring at home. Memphis is eighth in the league in scoring averaging 110.4 points per game. When playing at home, the Grizzlies average 115.8 per game. Not surprisingly, nine of the Grizzlies 14 home games have seen the total go Over. That includes six of the last seven at home. 

The Lakers lean toward the Over with their up-tempo offense. For the season, the Over is 15-10 in Lakers games. The total has gone Over in six of the last nine Lakers games, but in the last seven games against Memphis on the road, the Under has cashed in all seven.  

The Grizzlies have played three back-to-backs so far this season. Tonight will be their fourth. Memphis lost the second game in two of the three.