NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, January 23rd (All times Eastern)
Los Angeles Lakers (17-24) at Memphis Grizzlies (26-14), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Lakers will wrap up an already unsuccessful road trip Wednesday night when they head to Memphis to face the Grizzlies at FedEx Forum.
The Lakers are 0-2 on this mini excursion with losses to the Toronto Raptors and Chicago Bulls. The problem goes way deeper than this jaunt east as the Lakers are 2-9 in January and the losers of three straight overall.
Simply put, the Lakers are a mess and that was on display in a listless loss to the Bulls on Monday.
Kobe Bryant's streak of 20-plus scoring games came to a halt at 24 when the Bulls, one of the league's best defensive teams, held the leading vote-getter in the All-Star game to 16 points.
Steve Nash led the way with 18 and the recently demoted Pau Gasol registered a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds off the bench. Yes, off the bench as Gasol, who missed a few games recently with a concussion, was replaced in the starting lineup by Earl Clark.
The Lakers were held to 39.5 percent field-goal shooting and 17.6 percent 3- point shooting.
"It's very, very tough and very, very frustrating," Bryant said on Monday. "It's embarrassing. Tonight was embarrassing."
Things don't get any easier for the Lakers.
They are 5-14 on the road and Memphis is 15-6 at home.
The Grizzlies dropped a home matinee Monday to the Indiana Pacers, 82-81. Wayne Ellington was the leading scorer for the Grizz with 17 and Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph and Mike Conley each netted double figures.
Don't expect Ellington to lead the Grizzlies in scoring on Wednesday. He was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday, along with Marreese Speights, Josh Selby and a protected future first-round pick.
Memphis got back forward Jon Leuer in a move that was widely reported to have been done for financial reasons. This trade keeps the Grizzlies under the luxury tax, so they won't have to entertain offers for Gay or Randolph, two key components to the Grizzlies' success.
This trade may have made sense financially, but it crippled what was already a thin bench. Ellington and Speights were two of four reserves head coach Lionel Hollins used on Monday, but the team signed three players - Delonte West, Sasha Vujacic and Chris Johnson - to compensate for the loss.
Monday's loss snapped a two-game winning streak for the Grizzlies, who play two more at home after the Lakers game. They then head to Philadelphia and Oklahoma City.
"We were a little flat," admitted Hollins. "We didn't have a distinct advantage anywhere."
The Grizzlies have won two in a row against the Lakers, including a 106-98 home victory on Nov. 23. Los Angeles has had some recent success in Memphis, winning seven of its last 10.
01/23 10:53:35 ET