Los Angeles Lakers vs. Memphis Grizzlies Preview (2/28/23): Prediction, Starting Lineups, Odds

The depleted Los Angeles Lakers (29-32) travel to face the Memphis Grizzlies (36-23) on Tuesday night. Los Angeles has elevated themselves to the 12th seed, but their playoff hopes are in dire straits with LeBron James out for a couple of weeks. To make matters worse, D’Angelo Russell is doubtful due to an ankle injury. On the other side, Steven Adams remains out for the Grizzlies.

Can Los Angeles keep their season afloat with a statement road win? Odds, predictions, key matchups, and starting lineups are below.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Memphis Grizzlies Betting Odds

Memphis is rightfully a significant favorite here as the spread is -8.5 Grizzlies with an ugly -350 moneyline. For Los Angeles’ +300 moneyline to hold a positive expected value, they must win this matchup at least 26% of the time. However, it will be extremely difficult to overcome a Grizzlies squad that thrives at home without LeBron. Memphis is 25-5 with a 10.6 Net Rating at home this season, and they are 39-17-1 ATS in their last 57 home games.

The over under can be found at 236.5, which is a large line considering the Grizzlies rank 2nd with a 56.1 under percentage. In addition, the under is 13-3 in the last 16 matchups versus Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Memphis Grizzlies Prediction

I’m taking Grizzlies -8.5, their -350 moneyline, and under 236.5 total points.

Per Cleaning the Glass, the Lakers own a 4.1 Net Rating with LeBron James on the court and a -8.5 Net Rating when he’s off. That’s the difference between the Lakers ranking 4th and 28th respectively in Net Rating.

LeBron’s absence will completely derail the Lakers because he is the primary scorer, playmaker, and ball handler. That’s a burden that would cause Atlas to wince! The offense doesn’t function without him in large part because Davis lacks aggression and needs teammates to set him up. I don’t envy his matchup either as DPOY-favorite Jaren Jackson Jr (3.2 BPG) awaits him on the court. Per ShotQuality, the Grizzlies allow the lowest opponent shot quality on finishes at the rim because of Jaren’s superb anticipation, quickness, and 7’5” wingspan.

Memphis can also task wing stopper Dillon Brooks with neutralizing the hot hand regardless of position. Whether it’s Malik Beasley from deep or Hachimura’s arsenal, Brooks has lockdown potential.

In addition to Davis’ faults, Los Angeles lacks a guard that can create his own shot and heat up instantly. Optimists may squint at D’Angelo Russell, but he’s doubtful here anyways. Therefore, the Lakers are heavily relying on Dennis Schroder and Austin Reaves to be high volume scores and distributors, which isn’t their strong suit.

Los Angeles does field a legit defense though, so their best chance of keeping it close is through a messy, slow game. Jarred Vanderbilt and Davis form a menacing interior defense while Reaves poses problems for opponents as an on-ball defender – the Lakers need all three to turn in a brilliant performance. Schroder and Troy Brown Jr have both been solid as well, and Los Angeles will need every contested shot it can get.

Unfortunately, I don’t see them doing enough to compensate for their lackluster offense. Memphis has certainly missed Steven Adams’ screening, offensive rebounding, and connective passing, but they have enough self-creation weapons to overcome his injury. Ja Morant is a relentless force attacking the basket, Bane has an argument as the second best all-around three-point shooter in the league, and Jackson Jr’s offensive repertoire is expanding.

Meanwhile, Memphis owns a deep bench led by Tyus Jones (9.8 PPG, 4.6 APG), Luke Kennard (7.9 PPG, 46.2 3PT%), and Brandon Clarke (10.3 PPG, 5.6 RPG). It’s difficult to envision Los Angeles’ suspect bench holding their own against the Grizzlies’ second unit, which is unnerving considering Memphis’ starting lineup should cruise.

Overall, I expect this to be a decent offensive performance from Memphis (110-115 points) and a pitiful offense performance from Los Angeles (95-100 points). I’m definitely on the under here as 236.5 points is such a sizable line for this matchup.

Betting Trends

  • Lakers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall
  • Under is 5-1 in Lakers last 6 overall
  • Grizzlies are 39-17-1 ATS in their last 57 home games
  • Under is 6-1 in Grizzlies last 7 home games
  • Lakers are 2-5 ATS in the last 7 meetings in Memphis
  • Under is 13-3 in the last 16 meetings

Key Matchups

Which team will win the key matchups? Check out below for these vital battles.

Anthony Davis vs. Jaren Jackson Jr

Can Davis tap into his talent and become the unstoppable force fans have been clamoring for? Or will Jackson Jr produce a defensive masterclass and neutralize Davis? This matchup will decide whether the Lakers come within striking distance of covering, and I fully expect Jaren to emerge the victor here. Davis won’t have LeBron or Russell’s gravity to aid him, so he will face a wall of limbs all night. Considering he’s reluctant to embrace contact and is actually a poor jump shooter, that’s worrisome for Los Angeles.

Malik Beasley 3PT Shooting

The Lakers absolutely need a three-point shooter to go scorched Earth because it will pull defenders away from Davis inside and provide a sliver of balance. Beasley (8.6 3PA, 35.9 3PT%) is Los Angeles’ best hope, but can they rely on such a streaky shooter? In his last two games, Beasley is 7/11 and 2/11 from deep. Should the Lakers receive the latter, their prospects are grim.

Los Angeles Lakers Starting Lineup

PG: Dennis Schroder
SG: Malik Beasley
SF: Rui Hachimura
PF: Jarred Vanderbilt
C: Anthony Davis

Memphis Grizzlies Starting Lineup

PG: Ja Morant
SG: Desmond Bane
SF: Dillon Brooks
PF: Jaren Jackson Jr
C: Xavier Tillman Sr

Key Injuries

Los Angeles Lakers Injuries: LeBron James (O), Anthony Davis (P), D’Angelo Russell (D)

Memphis Grizzlies Injuries: Steven Adams (O)

Braxton has been covering the NBA for Lineups since the 2021-22 season. He's worked with multiple collegiate coaching staffs about analytics and scouting, which has allowed him to understand the game on a deeper level. Braxton is also a contributor at Thunderous Intentions and NBA Analysis Network.

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