Five things to watch in Lakers-Grizzlies matchup
1. The Gasol brother matchup. Wait, didn't you read this already? Yes, the Lakers' 124-105 victory Nov. 2 over the Memphis Grizzlies featured the Lakers' Pau Gasol and the Grizzlies' Marc Gasol matching up and it proved to be no contest. Though Lakers Coach Phil Jackson certainly used this storyline to needle Pau, he outscored his brother, 21-11, and outrebounded him 11-8. The same thing should happen tonight considering Marc has been limited this season because of a sprained left ankle and, well, Pau is better. But this matchup will bear some extra significance simply because Gasol's been riding heavy minutes lately. Drawing energy from something like this could prove critical should he bear a heavy load again.
2. Zach Randolph is back. One thing that's different about the second meeting between Memphis and the Lakers involve Randolph. He missed the first outing because of a bruised lower back and the Lakers enjoyed a 59-36 rebounding edge over the Grizzlies. The easiest ways to correct some of the Lakers' recent struggles involves dominating the glass, something they've failed to do in their two consecutive losses. The Lakers shouldn't have a problem doing this, but it won't be as easy the first time around
3. O.J. Mayo is on the bench. He should actually be thankful for this considering Kobe Bryant absolutely embarrassed him in the first meeting with 23 points on seven of 13 shooting. Bryant may have to work more for his points if he's guarded by Tony Allen, who had some success against him in the 2010 NBA Finals as a Celtic. It will also require the Lakers to have solid bench play, another drop off from the team's past two losses.
4. Can Ron Artest stop Rudy Gay this time around?Another opportunity awaits for Artest, who is currently going through another transition phase in handling his reduced offensive role. The Lakers still value his defense, but he's yet to demonstrate his full potential yet this season, including allowing Gay to score 30 points on 12 of 18 shooting.
5. Will the Lakers' outside shooting improve?Another easily identifiable issue in the team's past two losses: Shannon Brown has gone four of 17 while Derek Fisher went only three of 21 in the past three games. Keep this in context though. Brown has shot 48.6% from the field thus far, while Fisher has fared at 40.9%. Should the Lakers orchestrate better ball movement and energy tonight, the rhythm should start returning.
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