The Lakers are coming off a storyline filled win against the D’Angelo Russell-led Brooklyn Nets Friday night, where once again it was a total team effort. With Larry Nance Jr. out with a fractured hand, Coach Luke Walton inserted rookie sensation Kyle Kuzma into the starting lineup and the results indicated this was a wise decision, as Kuzma finished the night with 21 points (8-11 shooting) and impressively pulling down 13 rebounds to help fill Nance’s rebounding void.
Kuzma isn’t the only Laker on a hot streak. His new frontcourt mate Brook Lopez has put together two of his most impressive games as a Laker thus far. Lopez poured in 34 points and snatched 10 rebounds against his former team the Nets, showing his full repertoire as he buried six three-pointers in the game. As a team, the Lakers continued to show their offensive balance, as six players ended the night in double-figure scoring.
The purple and gold’s next test are the 5-3 Memphis Grizzlies, whom thus far have continued to exhibit their “grit and grind” reputation. With the departure of franchise stalwarts Zach Randolph, and Tony Allen, many questioned if the continuously solid Grizz would begin their decline. So far, this has not been the case, as the team has continued to rally around the defensive prowess NBA fans have become accustomed to. Memphis is currently among the best defensively ranked teams in the NBA, only allowing 99.4 points per 100 possessions.
Once again leading the Grizzlies’ solid play early in the season are the reliably fantastic duo of Mike Conley and Marc Gasol. Both Conley and Gasol are unsurprisingly off to quality starts this year, but what has opened eyes is how well the other players are performing. Constructed with a mix of veteran and young players, including the likes of: Tyreke Evans, Chandler Parsons, and Mario Chalmers, have seemingly rediscovered their groove. Rookie Dillon Brooks looks to have been a solid find in the later portion of the draft as well.
The Lakers have been fortunate to play seven of their first 10 games at home as they still find their footing early on. The comforts of STAPLES Center will soon fade though, as after taking on the Grizzlies the Lakers will embark on a difficult four-game road trip. With this fact in the back of their minds, this will be an important game for the purple and gold, who thus far have competed well against playoff caliber teams.
For a young squad who could easily have a few extra wins under their belts if they executed more efficiently down the stretch, ending the first ten games with a .500 record would definitely be a solid start to the season, and a good foundation of which to improve from.
Time: 6:30 p.m PT.
TV: Spectrum SportsNet, FSS