Lakers in Memphis for Saturday Tilt

Pau and Marc GasolAfter Saturday night’s game against the Grizzlies, the Lakers will be done with their trips to Memphis for the season, a city which joins New Orleans as Western Conference destinations to which L.A. won’t have to travel again in the regular season.

When the two teams met in Tennessee on Dec. 22, the Lakers emerged with a 105-96 result that was much closer than the final score.

Indeed, after the Lakers had lost back-to-back games in Miami and Orlando, they locked down defensively in the fourth quarter – conceding only 16 points – and got a three from Kobe Bryant with 34.8 seconds remaining to seal the victory over the Grizz.

But here’s the bad news for the Grizzlies: Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol combined for just 28 points and 11 rebounds (15 and seven from Gasol) on that night while Bryant led the way with 36. Not only has Memphis’ best defensive frontcourt player, Darko Milicic, been out since late December with an injury, but Andrew Bynum’s been playing like Shaq circa 2000 during his last five games.

En route to five-straight double-doubles, Bynum’s averaged 26.2 points, 13.8 rebounds and 3.2 blocks as L.A.’s won 4-of-5 games, the exception being the double OT loss to Charlotte on Tuesday. Good news for Memphis this is not. Also not helping Memphis is the fact that their starting lineup, while talented, has five combined seasons in the NBA.

But in essence, since the Grizzlies don’t shoot particularly well from the perimeter and are smallish on defense, L.A. can simply pound the rock down low on offense and pack the paint on D.

The game tips off at 5 p.m. Pacific.