Lakers vs. Grizzlies Preview: LeBron James Joins the Team, Anthony Davis Not Participating

LeBron James, Lakers, Grizzlies

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY SportsPublished on03/27/2024

AUTHOR

Matthew Valento

On Wednesday night, the Los Angeles Lakers will face the Memphis Grizzlies in the second game of their six-game road trip. The team is hoping to continue its strong play as they travel to Memphis. When playing on the road, they are now 7.5 favorites according to NBA odds.

May be an image of ‎2 people, people playing basketball, basketball jersey and ‎text that says "‎RAGSOH سty bibigo LAKERS 23 MEMPHIS 45 OLDEST PLAYER IN NBA VS. YOUNGEST PLAYER IN NBA‎"‎‎

The first game was yesterday in Milwaukee, where the Lakers took on the Bucks, a game that featured a historic fourth-quarter comeback of 19 points. The fact that the purple and gold were able to get through a nail-biter in double overtime without LeBron James gives them hope for the remainder of the journey.

NBA roundup: Lakers storm back, best Bucks in 2OT | Reuters

The Lakers are in a promising position with ten games left in the season, as they are 2.5 games ahead of the Golden State Warriors and two games behind the Phoenix Suns. They are in good position to make the play-in round of the playoffs, as they currently hold the ninth spot in the Western Conference. Despite this, they are realistically hoping to beat the NBA odds and finish in the top six. With a slim lead over the Suns and other key opponents passed, the Lakers are in a good position for a late-season run.

The victory on Tuesday was much-needed, but Anthony Davis played 52 minutes while dealing with a knee injury he suffered in the fourth quarter—the most minutes he has played since Kobe Bryant in 2012. The ridiculous stat line that Davis posted—34 points, 23 boards, 2 steals, and 4 blocks—must be considered.

Having said that, Davis will not play in Sunday’s game against the Grizzlies due to a left knee hyperextension. James, who co-starred with him, is also making a comeback to the lineup after sitting out last night against the Bucks with an ankle injury.

May be an image of 3 people, people playing basketball, crowd and text that says "tick AKERS 23 WEII"

Since their last game on January 5, when Memphis stunned the league with a 127-113 victory, a lot has transpired for the Grizzlies. Marcus Smart, Derrick Rose, Ja Morant, John Konchar, Ziare Williams, Vince Williams Jr., Yuta Watanabe, and Luke Kennard are all out.

The Grizzlies were the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference last season, but injuries have ruined their season, leaving them with a 24-48 record this year. Still, the likes of Desmond Bane, who returned from a lengthy hiatus not long ago, and Jaren Jackson Jr., who was named defensive player of the year, are on the roster. Also, after a year off due to an Achilles injury, Brandon Clarke is finally back to action.

Starting Wednesday’s game against Bane and Jackson from the tip is the Lakers’ top priority. If the Grizzlies can build some early confidence, they might make life difficult for the Lakers, who are playing with home court advantage and are coming into the game with more rest than the Grizzlies.

Los Angeles Lakers (40-32) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (24-48)

Wednesday, March 27, 2024, 5:00 p.m. PTFedEx Forum, Memphis, TennesseeTV: Spectrum SportsNetRadio: 710 AM ESPN LA

Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:

PG: D’Angelo RussellSG: Austin ReavesSF: LeBron JamesPF: Rui HachimuraC: Jaxson Hayes

Key Reserves: Taurean Prince, Cam Reddish, Spencer Dinwiddie, Max Christie

Projected Grizzlies Starting Lineup:

PG: Scotty Pippen Jr.SG: Desmond BaneSF: GG JacksonPF: Santi AldamaC: Jaren Jackson Jr.

Key Reserves: Brandon Clarke, Lamar Stevens, Jake LaRavia, Dejon Jarreau, Trey Jemison

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