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Lakers start three-game road trip in Memphis against Grizzlies

Lakers start three-game road trip in Memphis against Grizzlies

Grizzlies center Marc Gasol works in the post against Pacers center Ian Mahinmi during the first half of a game on Dec. 19.

(Brandon Dill / Associated Press)

On Sunday, the Lakers (5-25) start a three-game road trip in Memphis, visiting the Grizzlies (16-16).

At just .500 on the season, Memphis has not played as well this season as is has in the last few, especially defensively. The team is yielding 99.8 points a game while scoring just 95.9.

Of course, the Lakers have their own struggles, getting out-scored by 11 points a game (107.2-96.2).

Ryan Kelly is trying to play through a neck injury.  Brandan Wright and Jordan Adams are out with knee injuries.

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Key matchup

Marc Gasol is still one of the top centers in the league, averaging 16.2 points, 7.7 rebounds and 3.8 assists a game.

The Grizzlies also have a very solid point guard in Mike Conley, who is scoring 15.1 points a game with 6.0 assists.

Gasol and Conley are shooting 46.7% and 40.6% from the field, respectively -- low for both players.

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The Lakers counter with defensive-minded Roy Hibbert against Gasol and second-year guard Jordan Clarkson on Conley.

Memphis isn’t a high scoring team. Big games from Hibbert and Clarkson defensively could give the Lakers a chance.

X-factor

The Grizzlies have moved Zach Randolph to the bench, starting forwards Jeff Green and Matt Barnes.

Randolph’s numbers are down this year, at 13.3 points a games, shooting 46.3% from the field.

Julius Randle, who also initially was a starter for the Lakers to begin the season, has been playing as a reserve.  Some have likened Randle’s power game to Randolph’s, although Randle has a speed advantage.

Randle is averaging 11.4 points and 9.4 rebounds but shooting just 41.6% from the field.

Outlook

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The Lakers may be able to out-score the Grizzlies, especially with Memphis playing on the second night of a back-to-back after losing on Saturday night in Charlotte against the Hornets. 

Still, the Lakers haven’t shown they can win consistently this season. Put Memphis down for the win at home.

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


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