Without Ja Morant, the Grizzlies needed the help of Xaiver Tillman to help propel them past the Lakers in Game 2. Taking advantage of a lackadaisical Lakers defense, Tillman exploded on to the scene to the tune of 22 points on 10 of 13 shooting. Now, Ja is listed as Questionable on the Grizzlies injury report and could potentially make his comeback in game 3. With or without him, expect a locked in Lakers defense in an effort to take the series lead with a focused LeBron leading the scoring charge. The Lakers are favored to win this game with -195 odds on the moneyline per DraftKings sportsbook.
Memphis Grizzlies vs LA Lakers Prediction
Whether or not Ja plays, we should see a revamped Lakers defense as they severely lacked in that department in their last game out. Normally a consistently strong unit as they ranked top-10 in Defensive Efficiency per TeamRankings throughout the course of the season and third overall since the start of the playoffs, the Lakers defense was consistently burned as the Grizzlies generated open looks with ease.
It’s not as if the Grizzlies did anything that we have not witnessed before as they have proven to be a winning unit without Ja at various points of the season. They stuck to their guns and ran a more spread-out style approach with crisp facilitation, bombarding the Lakers with their elite perimeter shooting and attacking the open interior with Tillman and Jaren Jackson Jr. The Lakers played lazy and were consistently burned from their sluggish movement.
It was especially perplexing to watch as the Lakers have run as one of the best perimeter defenses in the league. They rank second in Opposing Three Point Completion Percentage, holding opponents to a lowly 34.4% from deep, according to the NBA. Expecting the Lakers to play back to their roots and double up off of picks at the perimeter, this would stall out the Grizzlies offense who rely on their ability to stretch out the court.
Memphis Grizzlies vs LA Lakers Betting Odds
Oddsmakers are in the same mindset of me in this being a Lakers bounce back game as they opened LA as a -3.5 favorite. Bettors were quick to back them as well, taking the Lakers up -5 as of writing in some shops. There is also a strong possibility that Ja may sit this one out as he heals from his right wrist injury, making it worth monitoring as we near tip off as his status has yet to be confirmed.
As for the total, points are expected to be scored at a moderate pace as oddsmakers opened the number at 228.5. That number has been drastically bet down since the opener, plummeting to 220.5 in some shops as of writing. This is heavily correlated with the idea of the Lakers defense rounding back into form, limiting the Grizzlies offensive explosiveness while still playing a conservative pace themselves.
- Grizzlies are 2-5 ATS in the last seven meetings in Los Angeles
- Under is 15-5-1 in the last 21 meetings overall
Will LeBron retaliate to Dillon Brooks comments?
LeBron James Vs. Dillon Brooks
It’s a tale as old as time as multiple defensive minded players have tried to rattle the king while all have failed. From Lance Stephenson to Klay Thompson, multiple players have fallen victim to poking the bear in LeBron as he tends to bounce back with monster performances.
While I applaud Brooks performance while hounding LeBron as he held him to below 35% when guarding him, he is going to find himself in a world of hurt when LeBron starts to attack the basket instead of settling for jump shots.
Brooks is severely undersized and his in your face style of play is prone to getting burned off a cut. Even if the Grizzlies shade their bigs to anchor the paint, LeBron is an elite facilitator and can hit an open shooter in stride. Simply put, LeBron was the wrong person to piss off heading into a pivotal game three.
"I don't care. He's old. … I don't respect no one until they come and give me 40."
Dillon Brooks on his exchange with LeBron 😳
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 20, 2023
Back the Lakers at no higher than -5.5 in what should be a bounce back performance for LA on both ends of the court.
Memphis Grizzlies Starting Lineup
LA Lakers Starting Lineups
Memphis Grizzlies Injuries: Ja Morant (Q), Brandon Clarke (O), Steven Adams (O), Jake LaRavia (O)
LA Lakers Injuries: LeBron James (P), Anthony Davis (P), Dennis Schroder (P)