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Lakers look to end six-game losing streak in Memphis vs. Grizzlies

Lakers look to end six-game losing streak in Memphis vs. Grizzlies
Lakers forward Julius Randle and Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph battle for a rebound during a Dec. 27 game in Memphis. (Karen Pulfer Focht / Associated Press)

The Lakers (11-47) finish their three-game road trip on Wednesday, visiting the Memphis Grizzlies (32-23).

The Grizzlies recently announced that center Marc Gasol underwent foot surgery and will sit out the remainder of the season.

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Meanwhile, the Lakers have lost six straight games, still last in the Western Conference standings.

Kobe Bryant (shoulder, finger) is expected to play, but rookie Larry Nance Jr. is questionable with a sore knee.

Memphis will also be without guard Jordan Adams (knee), while defensive guard Tony Allen (knee) is a game-time decision.

Key matchup

Behind Gasol's 16.6 points a game, point guard Mike Conley will be the Grizzlies' active leading scorer against the Lakers, at 14.9 points a night.

Shooting 41.1% and 35.4% from the field, Conley is also averaging 6.1 assists.

Coach Byron Scott has moved rookie D'Angelo Russell back to the team's starting lineup, paired with second-year guard Jordan Clarkson.

Russell, who turned 20 on Tuesday, is at 12.1 points with 3.4 assists a game.  Clarkson is averaging 15.5 and 2.6, respectively.

Where the pair needs to improve most is on the defensive side of the ball.

X-factor

With Gasol out, Zach Randolph is now the Grizzlies' starting center.  Randolph is undersized at the position, especially against Roy Hibbert -- but he's still a strong, physical player.

Julius Randle has some similarities, as both players like to overpower their opponents.  Randolph has more skill and experience, and a steady jump shot.  Randle is a better ball-handler but has yet to master his outside shot.

Additionally, Memphis recently traded Courtney Lee and Jeff Green.  The team will rely  instead on the offense of players such as Mario Chalmers, Matt Barnes, Vince Carter, JaMychal Green, P.J. Hairston and former Clippers guard Lance Stephenson.

Outlook

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The Grizzlies aren't the same team without Gasol, but they should be able to handle the Lakers on Wednesday.

Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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