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Lakers Face a Different Test Against Grizzlies’ Mauling Defense

LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrates his three pointer during a 121-113 win over the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center on December 5, 2018 in Los Angeles, California

Coming off a free-flowing loss that looked like a pickup game in a YMCA gym in their game against San Antonio last night, the Lakers and their No. 9 scoring offense head to Memphis to play the league’s No. 2 scoring defense. Memphis opens as a 2.5 point favorite with the total at 209.

SHARK BITES
  • The total has gone OVER in 4 of LA Lakers's last 5 games when playing on the road against Memphis.
  • Memphis is 11-3 ATS in its last 14 games at home.
  • LA Lakers is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games.

Lakers vs Grizzlies Game Center

Focus Shift

The Lakers shift from playing the No. 25 scoring defense last night to the No. 2 scoring defense tonight and will need to adjust their game plan before tip-off tonight in Tennessee. This will be the first time these teams meet this year ahead of games on December 23 and February 25.

LA brings the No. 9 scoring offense into this game but will once again play without small forward Brandon Ingram who is out with an ankle injury suffered earlier this week.

In his absence last night, the rest of the starters played a lot of minutes while Lebron James (35 points) and Kyle Kuzma (27 points) led the way offensively. LA is 4-1 SU and 3-2 ATS in the second game of a back-to-back so far this season, scoring 107 points twice, 113 and 114 points.

Memphis Makes Life Tough on Opposing Shooters

The Grizzlies’ hallmark is their defensive play as they’re allowing just 102.4 points per game through the first third of the season. So far in December, they’ve been even better than their season average, keeping opponents to just 97.3 points per game.

The Grizzlies play a slow and grinding game which keeps them off the scoreboard too. They’re averaging just 104.2 points this season and 99.3 points through their last three games. Expect this style to frustrate Lebron and the young Lakers – it will be interesting to see how they react both strategically and emotionally. James, for his career, has scored just over 25 points per game vs Memphis.

My Best Bet for Tonight

Personally, this is a bit of a stay away game in terms of the spread because I’m just not sure how the polar opposite styles will play out. My strategy for this game is going to be to wait for the total to rise higher as early action is driving it up. If it gets to 211 or 212, I’ll be taking the UNDER.

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