2 Keys to Victory: Lakers vs. Grizzlies

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The 17-18 Los Angeles Lakers take on the 11-23 Memphis Grizzlies tonight in what they hope to be the start of a winning streak to get their season back on track.

After three straight losses and only two wins in their last ten games, the In-Season champions are unhappy with their performance as of late. Though the Lakers did blow out the Grizzlies back in November 107-134, Memphis now has their superstar point guard Ja Morant back from suspension.

Here are our two keys to victory for the purple gold in what seems like a must-win game to get their season back on the rails.

Grizzlies’ Offensive Struggles

In December, the Memphis Grizzlies have been atrocious on the offensive end.

The team ranks 29th in the league in both offensive rating and points per game at 107.3 and 108.1, respectively, largely due to their horrible efficiency in scoring the basketball. At 44.8%, Memphis is the second worst this month in FG%, aided by a fourth worst 3P% of 33.8%. In losses, these numbers drop even more. 

Additionally, the Grizzlies have been one of the worst rebounding teams this month. At 41.5, the Grizzlies are fifth worst in rebounds per game, a third-worst 8.8 of which come on the offensive end.

Memphis’ offensive rebounding struggles have limited their ability to put up second-chance points, as they sit in the bottom third of the league in FGA per game in December at 87.5.

Overall, Memphis's lack of offensive production has proven critical in their inability to win games. 

The Lakers, fortunately, match up well against poor offensive teams. In December, the Lakers tote the seventh-best defensive rating at 114.1 and are strong on the defensive boards, grabbing a sixth-best 34.0 a game.

If the Lakers continue to command the defensive rebounding category, they should have no issue stopping a weak Grizzlies team on the offensive glass.

Look for the LakeShow to exploit the Grizzlies’ offensive struggles and contain them on the scoreboard. 

Keep the Foot on the Gas

The Lakers have been, for lack of a better word, ugly as of late. In their last game, LA looked unpolished, throwing errant turnovers, missing open layups, and playing lazy defense.

The magic of the playoff run from last season and the In-Season-Tournament heroics look like a thing of the past, with big plays and highlights few and far between.

After their loss in what was considered a get-right game for them on Wednesday, the Lakers need to come out hot tonight, with energy and passion to command the game early.

In order to build momentum for the rest of this month and eventually turn this season around, the Lakers need to handle Memphis.

If the Lakers can get some of the big eye-popping plays they were able to when the two teams faced off in the playoffs last season, they may find themselves in a rhythm they can carry throughout the rest of this month.

I expect this Lakers team that desperately needs a pick-me-up to put the pedal to the metal in this one and not stay off until the final buzzer.

Up 1-0 in the season series, the purple and gold will look to extend that tonight in what will likely be a strong defensive showing for them.

If the Lakers can keep their foot on the gas, they will find themselves on track to win this game and build momentum to start this new year.

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