The Los Angeles Lakers visit the Memphis Grizzlies to start the playoffs. The Lakers are coming off a come from behind win against the Timberwolves at home in the play-in game, while the Grizzlies have had a week off and lost to the Thunder in their regular season finale. My prediction is that the Lakers cover the 3.5-point spread against the Grizzlies. The Grizzlies have too many injuries down low and the Lakers are playing the best they’ve played all year. Let’s take a look at the odds and make some picks and predictions for this game!
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Memphis Grizzlies Prediction
The Lakers have been the best team in the NBA since the All-Star break after undergoing a major roster makeover at the trade deadline.
LeBron James still leads this team when needed, despite his age. He leads the team in scoring at 29 PPG and in assists at 7 per game. Anthony Davis is the x-factor for the Lakers if he can stay healthy. He averages 26 PPG and leads the team in rebounding at 12.5 per game. D’Angelo Russell has been a big key since coming over from the trade deadline. He averages 17 PPG and 6 rebounds per game. Austin Reaves is also a huge key for the Lakers on the perimeter. He averages 13 PPG and 40% from three-point range.
The Lakers have rebounded well enough to be a very balanced team. They’re 6th in scoring offense and 10th in field goal percentage. They’re also 12th in defensive rating at 113.2.
On the other side, the Grizzlies have been very good this year, but have dealt with some issues off the court, while also being decimated in the front court with injuries.
Ja Morant is the engine that makes this team go. He leads the team in scoring at 26 PPG, in assists at 8 per game, and is tied for the lead in steals at 1 per game. Desmond Bane has emerged as a very good sidekick for Morant too on the perimeter. He averages 21.5 PPG and is one of the best three-point shooters on the team at 41%. Jaren Jackson Jr. has been great for Memphis this year, especially on defense. He averages 19 PPG, is tied for the team lead in steals at 1 per game and leads the team in blocks at 3 per game. Dillon Brooks has also been solid for Memphis on the perimeter. He averages 14 PPG.
Memphis has been solid on both sides of the court this year. They’re 9th in scoring at 116.9 PPG, 4th in point differential at +3.9, and 11th in offensive rating at 114.7. On defense, they’re 11th in points allowed at 113 , 2nd in rebounds at 46.6 per game, 2nd in blocks at 5.8 per game, and 3rd in defensive rating at 110.7.
This is going to be a tight game, but the Lakers should cover and win in this spot. The injuries are too much for Memphis down low and LeBron and Anthony Davis will be the difference.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Memphis Grizzlies Betting Odds
The Memphis Grizzlies are 3.5-point home favorites against the Los Angeles Lakers and are at -165 on the money line. The over/under is also at 227.5. The Grizzlies being favored makes sense because they’re at home, but it was going to be very close in general. The over/under also makes sense because each team is in the top-10 in scoring offense. This spread should also stay where it’s at before tip-off, even though it’s close.
Lakers are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games following a ATS loss.
Grizzlies are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
Can Dillon Brooks matchup with LeBron James? Can D’Angelo Russell matchup with Ja Morant?
LeBron James vs. Dillon Brooks
LeBron has been great this year at his age. He averages 29 points, 7 assists, and 8 rebounds per game. He’ll be matched up against Dillon Brooks most of the game, who averages 14 points, 3 assists, and 3 rebounds per game. Brooks has been very good as an irritant, but LeBron is enough to still take the Lakers to cover the 3.5-point spread on the road.
Ja Morant vs. D’Angelo Russell
Ja Morant has been great this year despite the off-court issues. He averages 26 points, 8 assists, and 6 rebounds per game. He’ll be matched up against D’Angelo Russell most of the game, who averages 18 points, 6 assists, and 3 rebounds per game. Russell has been a good fit for the Lakers, but Morant is just better here.
Los Angeles Lakers Starting Lineup
Memphis Grizzlies Starting Lineups
Los Angeles Lakers Injuries: None
Memphis Grizzlies Injuries: C Steven Adams (Knee) O, PF Brandon Clarke (Achilles) O