Here is what you need to know before the Lakers’ Sunday matchup with the Memphis Grizzlies.
1) Lopez has a tough challenge in the post
Brook Lopez has had it his way over the Lakers’ last two games, piling up 61 points through a blend of post-ups, pick-and-rolls and 3-pointers.
But Lopez will have to contend with a former Defensive Player of the Year in this matchup, as Marc Gasol has been expectedly excellent protecting the rim for Memphis this year.
Gasol has found success against Lopez in the past, holding one of the game’s best offensive centers to 17 points or fewer in each of their last six head-to-head matchups. But Gasol hasn’t lit it up either, scoring no more than 19 in those contests.
Look for the 7-footers to engage in a physical battle, though they’ll also likely try to show off their shooting as two of the best long-range centers in the league.
2) Kuzma’s already comfortable among the starting five
After eight games of shredding opposing benches, Kyle Kuzma took his show into the starting lineup, getting the call to replace an injured Larry Nance Jr. (fractured finger)
Kuzma didn’t disappoint in a favorable matchup against a defensively woeful Brooklyn team. The rookie finished with a 21-point, 13-rebound night on Friday after constantly blowing past slower defenders for successful drives to the hoop.
This was nothing new for Kuzma, who ranks third in the entire NBA in two-point percentage (68.7), as opposing power forwards have not been able to keep up with his first step or keep track of him on cuts to the paint.
As with Lopez, this game will be a tougher test for Kuzma, considering Memphis is holding its opponents to a league-low 41.7 percent shooting from the field.
While the Grizzlies’ starting power forward, Jarell Martin, is far from a lockdown defender, Memphis’ team defense promises to present much resistance.
3) Ingram is hitting his stride
Over the last four games, Brandon Ingram has looked like a much more polished player, scoring double figures in each contest while averaging 15.3 points on 50.0 percent shooting.
During this stretch he has found success attacking the rack, with a 12-of-19 clip in the restricted area. He has also been solid from mid-range (6-of-13) and near-perfect on 3-pointers from the wings (4-of-5).
On the other side, Ingram’s length has been a momentum-turner for the Lakers.
As a rookie last year, there was a stretch when Ingram went an entire month without recording a single steal. That is no longer the case.
His 7-foot-3 wingspan has been put to good use, snagging 11 steals over the last four games. Even when he isn’t taking the ball away, he is still getting involved, as his 17 deflections in that span are tied for the team lead with Lonzo Ball and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
Lakers: Andrew Bogut (back tightness) is questionable. Larry Nance Jr. (fractured second metacarpal, left hand) is out.
Grizzlies: Wayne Selden Jr. (right quad) is day-to-day. JaMychal Green (left foot/ankle), Ben McLemore (G League assignment) and Ivan Rabb (G League assignment) are out.
Tip-Off: 6:30 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet and Spectrum Deportes
Radio: 710 ESPN and 1330 KWKW
Location: STAPLES Center — Los Angeles, California
Click here to view game notes for this contest.
A post shared by Los Angeles Lakers (@lakers) on Nov 3, 2017 at 9:31pm PDT