When the Lakers beat the Grizzlies 90-82 at Staples Center on Jan. 8, it came in spite of a usually debilitating statistic: 27 turnovers committed.
The Lakers turned it over 16 times alone in the second half, yet managed to win for the first time while giving the ball away so often since Nov. 3, 1995 against Denver. L.A.’s own defense ended up carrying the day, as Memphis managed to hit only 40.9 percent from the field, compared to 47.3 percent for the Lakers, masking all the giveaways.
Needless to say, it won’t be so easy for L.A. to win at Memphis – where the Grizz have won six straight games – if they can’t take care of the basketball. Memphis does happen to be the league’s best team at creating turnovers, however,
using 10.0 steals per game (1st in the NBA) towards 17.6 forced turnovers (1st). On top of that, Memphis turns those mistakes into points, leading the league in points off turnovers (20.2) and ranking third in fast break points (17.1).
A key cog in the Grizz turnover machine, Rudy Gay, will not play against the Lakers due to a concussion. Gay averaged 1.65 steals per game, but his teammates Mike Conley (2.53, 1st in NBA) and Tony Allen (1.76) still pose a strong challenge.