The Los Angeles Lakers face the immense task of trying to tame the Memphis Grizzlies tonight at the Staples Center as they remain just .5 game ahead of the Utah Jazz for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Tip-off is scheduled for 10:30 pm ET at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
NBA odds makers have listed the Lakers as a 2.5 point betting favorites. Steve Nash is listed as doubtful for tonight’s game with a hip and hamstring injury, and this had caused a few of the shops to delay releasing their lines.
Let's breakdown this Western Conference matchup and decide where the best value lies for our NBA picks.
The Ultimate Warrior
Kobe Bryant is indeed the ultimate tough guy, as he is dealing with aches and pains while playing a massive amount of minutes. Coach Mike D’antoni plans on resting Kobe once the Lakers are through the woods, so to speak.
Bryant is coming off of a triple double on Tuesday in the victory over Dallas and was just one rebound away from another triple double against Sacramento in that victory. Bryant has been focusing less on scoring (21.5 points per game in his last 2 games) and more on getting others involved; it’s working. Dwight Howard has had 14 consecutive double-doubles and is averaging 24 points and 13.5 rebounds in his last 2 games while shooting a sharp 17 of 26 from the field.
Bryant is attempting to co-exist with “Superman” as he mentioned that hopefully Dwight Howard’s number 12 will be in the rafters of the Staples Center once his career is over.
Re-emergence of Clark?
Los Angeles can also use another game like the one that they received from Earl Clark on Tuesday. Clark had 17 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 blocks. Earl Clark came flying out of the gate at the start of the season, but has simmered down. The Lakers need him to build off of this performance.
Offense vs. Defense
The Lakers are one of the better teams in the league offensively, averaging 102.3 points per game, but they face a blockade in the Memphis Grizzlies defense. This should be a low scoring game, but can LA be continuously successful against the Grizzlies defense will be deciding factor to this game.
Battle of the Boards
With Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol minding the glass, the Lakers won’t get many second chances. This is combination that averages 19 rebounds per game and takes up a lot of room on the inside. Both Gasol and Randolph are also two-way players with a good offensive shooting touch. Home court advantage is always huge in the NBA, but the fans won’t be guarding these two massive players.
He’s Got the Touch
Without Rudy Gay, Mike Conley Jr. is playing some of the best basketball of his career. He used to be more of a passer, but is now looking for his shot on a regular basis. Conley Jr. is averaging 20.6 points on 52.9% from the field and is the most consistent scorer on this team. Look for him to play well as the Lakers are without a pure point guard.
Head to Head Trends
Over is 4-0 in the last 4 meetings
Home Team is 9-4 ATS in the last 13 meetings
Grizzlies are 21-10 ATS in the last 31 meetings
With Memphis’ tough defense, this will be a difficult game for the Lakers to win, especially without Steve Nash. Look for Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard to play key roles as this is a“must win” for LA as they attempt to make the playoffs.NBA Picks: Los Angeles Lakers -2.5 at BetOnline