5 things the Lakers must do to complete an upset of the Grizzlies

Dennis Schroder, Los Angeles Lakers, Dillon Brooks, Memphis Grizzlies (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Dennis Schroder, Los Angeles Lakers, Dillon Brooks, Memphis Grizzlies (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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After dispatching the Minnesota Timberwolves in their play-in game, the Los Angeles Lakers secured the seventh seed in the West. Next up on the mission to bring back the championship to Los Angeles is to face the No. 2 team, the Memphis Grizzlies, in a seven-game series. For context, let’s look at how both teams fare against one another.

In the regular season, the Lakers won the season series 2-1. But what’s unfortunate about all those games was that neither squad had a healthy and same-construction of roster. The first meeting featured a pre-revamped Laker team minus AD. While the second one was underway, LeBron James and D’Angelo Russell were unavailable to play. Lastly, their third face-off still had both aforementioned players unavailable, but this time, Ja Morant also served his suspension during this game.

Upon checking the numbers for the whole season, the edge favors the Grizzlies, as they had a better foundational team coming from last year. They have the 11th-ranked offense (114.7 offensive rating) compared to the 19th-ranked offense of the Lakers (113.9 offensive rating). On the other side of the floor, the Grizzlies had the third-best defense in the league (a 110.7 defensive rating), while the Lakers were at number twelve in that category (a 113.2 defensive rating).

Zooming more into the recent play of both teams, which are numbers post All-Star break, the Lakeshow has amped it up to close the gap and even have the metric in their favor. Offensively, the Grizzlies remained better than the Lakers (116.9 ORTG to 116.2 ORTG). Defense is where the Lakers vastly improved, as they became the fourth-best defense during the stretch (111.3 DRTG), and the Grizzlies got worse by a bit but still ranked ninth among 30 teams (112.8 DRTG).

With all that we’ve laid down so far, it suggests saying the Lakers have a real shot at beating the Grizzlies is not far-fetched. It’s now time to get into detail and see what advantages the Lakers can pounce on and disadvantages they try to avert in order to win this series.