Lakers return to the Staples Center counting their lucky stars that they've only lost one game. Each victory with less than a 10 point margin. Let's face it, the Lakers are in dyer need of the Spaniard's return. This might be a possibility tomorrow night as Gasol's hamstring is fully recovered, Doctors say. His season debut couldn't have come at a better time since Bynum's shoulder is now hurting. Andrew might be sporting a tie to give his shoulder some rest from the beating it took last night against the Rockets.
I say Bynum should just pull a Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon and bang his shoulder against a wall to put it back into place. Come on Andrew, if you can carry a playboy bunny on your shoulders with a bad knee you can definitely do this...see clip.
Okay, now to the opponent, the Memphis Grizzlies. On paper, this team should be at the top spot in the Southwest. Marc Gasol averaging 18 pts & 12 rebs, O.J. Mayo is averaging 20 pts, Zach Randolph, 20 pts & 10 rebs, and Rudy Gay at 20 pts with 8 rebs. You'd think this kind of production would result to a killer team but unfortunately it's been the opposite. The Grizzlies are still in the manifesting process and haven't quite gelled yet.
The two notable newbies on the squad to look out for are Zach Randolph & Allen Iverson. Zach is playing great basketball just as if he's been in Memphis all his career. He's produced a double-double in his last two games. AI is just starting to contribute but still isn't quite there yet. Iverson's personal expectations as a new Grizzly is being battled by Coach Lionel Hollins. Allen wants the starting PG role but Coach Hollins wants Iverson coming off the bench as the sixth man. Needless to say, this has caused a major problem not only for AI but for the team with only having one win. AI should get the minutes he wants and when this happens, well, we all know what he's capable of, regardless of age. Allen's heart has no age.
If Bynum doesn't do a Mel Gibson like I've suggested earlier, then the Lakers will need Gasol to suit up. Phil will most likely put Gasol as Center and put LO at the PF position. Brother against brother and LO against Zach. Kobe squeezing OJ and Artest physically with Gay. Wait, that didn't come out right...you guys know what I mean. Derek will have difficulty defending AI. D. Fish is yet to have an explosive game. The buzz on Sports radio today is about how Farmar should be the starting PG. I disagree, D. Fish has better defense and physically can close the gap quicker than Farmar. Farmar will most likely put more points on the board but I just personally feel more comfortable seeing D. Fish control the ball rather than Farmar. Maybe I'm wrong, but there's something about Derek's poise & presence on the floor plus ability to control the ball and not turn it over leaves me liking his starting role. Besides, with the way these games have been decided in the final seconds, I'd rather see D. Fish out there for the clutch. Remember, he was the one who stole the ball from Trevor Ariza in the final seconds of OT last night to get the win. Ariza made a 3 to take the game into OT and he could've easily made another to win the game if it wasn't for Derek's quick hands.
Don't let the Grizzlies 1-4 record fool you, this squad is ready to burst through the seams and it just might happen tomorrow night against the champs.
Here are the final numbers to the game:
(Click to enlarge)