Memphis Grizzlies vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Friday, February 12, 2021 – 10:00 PM EST at Staples Center
The Lakers are at home in this matchup against the defensive minded Grizzlies. L.A. attempts to continue their march to a second straight NBA title and the Grizzlies try to move toward a playoff berth in the Western Conference.
Which Grizzlies Team Will Show Up?
The Grizzlies are a conundrum of a team. They have had injury and COVID-19 issues to deal with to be sure. They had a COVID delay and came out of it white hot. Then they lost four in a row. Most recently they have a win over the Charlotte Hornets.
The one thing about this Memphis team that does not deviate is their defensive effort. They are excellent on the defensive end. They play hard. That shows every single night. Memphis doesn’t have a ton of scoring punch, but Ja Morant can be a one man show when needed.
Will The Lakers Stop Messing Around With Lower Level Teams?
The Lakers are the defending NBA champions. They are excellent this year as well. They are most likely the best team in the NBA. However there is a but coming. They have messed around with lower tier teams recently. They lost outright to Detroit. They let Oklahoma City take them to overtime not once, but twice on their home floor. They have been prone to lapses.
These lapses have coincided with the absence of Anthony Davis. With recent reports that Davis will take it easy with his achilles issue, there is no good reason to expect him to play in this game. That leaves the burden on 36 year old LeBron James.
LeBron is unreal. He is inhuman. He is spectacular. But is he enough? It took a singlehanded effort from him to defeat the Thunder on Wednesday. At some point he needs a rest. At some point he can’t carry a second tier Lakers team without Anthony Davis to wins over and over.
This should be a very good game for a number of reasons. The Grizzlies are a tough team defensively. They play very hard. This won’t change against the defending champions. The Lakers are going to get everyone’s best shot this season and for the foreseeable future.
Without Anthony Davis in the lineup the Lakers are simply not the same team. They are a team led by guys like Alex Caruso, Dennis Schroeder, Montrezl Harrell and Wes Matthews. Those players may be decent, even good players, but they are not the same championship level team that we saw last year and earlier this season.
Anthony Davis makes the Lakers a different team. More dynamic and much more difficult to defend. LeBron James’ greatness is unquestioned and beyond surpass. But even his greatness has its limitations. LeBron can do only so much, so often. The Thunder nearly stole two games from the Lakers and they had only eight players for both games.
Memphis will have more artillery to fire at Los Angeles. I think the Grizzlies defensive intensity, coupled by their recent rough patch will provide them with enough to get the job done against the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers. I’ll take the points with the visitors.
NBA Pick: Memphis Grizzlies +7.5 (-110) at BetMGM