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Preview: Lakers at Grizzlies

January 23, 2013|By Eric Pincus
  • Center Marc Gasol reacts after the Memphis Grizzlies made a defensive stop against the Clippers.
Center Marc Gasol reacts after the Memphis Grizzlies made a defensive stop… (Lance Murphey / Associated…)

The Lakers (17-24) are set to visit the Memphis Grizzlies (26-13) on Wednesday, hoping to break a three-game losing streak. The last time the Lakers won a road game was Dec. 22 against the Golden State Warriors. 

After dropping six away games in a row, can they break the streak against the Grizzlies, who are 15-6 at home?

Memphis has real size up front in Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, two bigs who complement each other. Mike Conley is a steady point guard. Rudy Gay is a capable scorer. Tony Allen is a tenacious on-the-ball defender.

The Grizzlies just executed a trade for Jon Leuer, limiting their depth, but Darrell Arthur, Jerryd Bayless and Quincy Pondexter can all contribute.

The Lakers have struggled lately, and it's difficult to imagine them overcoming the Grizzlies in Memphis.

Key matchup

The Lakers need more out of Dwight Howard.  Now, some of that may be on Howard; some of that may be on his teammates.

Whatever the issue, Marc Gasol is a big, tough body that Howard will have to work around. That's no easy task. Randolph is strong as well. The Grizzlies present the kind of problems the Lakers are supposed to with the size of Pau Gasol and Howard.

Marc Gasol is averaging 13.3 points a game with 7.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks. Randolph puts up an average of 16.2 points and 11.6 boards.

X-factor

Conley is the kind of point guard the Lakers always seem to struggle with. He's quick off the dribble, can hit an open shot and collects an average of 2.4 steals a game.

The Lakers couldn't stop Kirk Hinrich and Jose Calderon. Conley is likely to be next on the list, unless the Lakers can figure something out defensively. For a moment, Kobe Bryant had success against Kyrie Irving and Brandon Jennings but that now seems long ago.

Outlook

The Lakers are either going to turn their season around or they're not. Memphis would be a great place to start, but the Lakers haven't done much to inspire confidence of late.

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

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