Grizzlies vs. Lakers: Kobe Bryant Welcomes Memphis into the Staples Center

Memphis Grizzlies at Los Angeles Lakers
Sunday, 1/8/12, 9:30 PM EST, TV:  FSW
Opening Point Spread:  Los Angeles -7.5
Current Betting Line:  Los Angeles -7
Opening Total:  184.5
Current Total:  182.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Memphis Grizzlies C Marc Gasol will have to do the heavy lifting without Zach Randolph Sunday

Memphis will close out its three-game road trip in Los Angeles Sunday and will look to bounce back from a 94-85 loss to the Utah Jazz.  The Grizzlies have fallen ‘under’ the total in three of four games.  “We got to get better at the end, especially on the road,” stated Grizzlies center Marc Gasol.  “We got to be better executing and knowing our scheme defensively.”  The team split its four games with the Lakers a year ago, while tallying a dreadful 6-24 mark on the road in this series.  Memphis is 14-5 ATS when playing on Sunday the last two-plus years.

The Grizzlies will be trying to make due without star forward Zach Randolph for the next eight weeks, as he’s out for eight weeks with a partially torn medial collateral knee ligament.  Memphis has been known to overcome injuries, especially after losing Rudy Gay for most of the 2010-11 season.  Randolph was leading the squad in scoring and rebounding through the first four games of the year.  Gasol will have to pick up the slack and build on his 21-point and 11 rebound effort against the Jazz.

Los Angeles has alternated wins and losses over its past five games, capturing a 97-90 victory over the Golden State Warriors as 10.5-point home favorites.  The Lakers have failed to cover the spread in four of their last five games.  Star guard Kobe Bryant finished the last contest with a season-high 39 points and has averaged 32.7 points over his last seven home games.  “We went through stretches where we couldn’t score, and so he carried us,” stated Lakers first-year head coach Mike Brown about Bryant’s latest effort.  Los Angeles is 43-61 ATS at home the last two-plus seasons.

The Lakers have won all five of their games this year inside the Staples Center, posting a 5-1 mark at home and 0-3 record on the road.  Los Angeles has won four of its last five home games in this series and is 16-6 all-time at the Staples Center versus Memphis.  Center Andrew Bynum has played well since returning from a suspension to open the season, but is wasting opportunities at the free throw line, shooting less than 60 percent.

Bettors will likely back the Grizzlies due to their 18-8 ATS mark in the last 26 meetings, while the Lakers are 2-9 ATS versus Western Conference foes.

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