The 2023 NBA Playoffs have been an exciting spectacle so far. One of the most intriguing matchups of Round 1 between the Lakers and Grizzlies was won by the Lakers with a score of 128-112 in game one. They look to repeat that success on Wednesday when Game 2 will take place away from Los Angeles.
The Memphis Grizzlies average 116.9 points per game, slightly more than what Los Angeles allows per contest (111.6). When scoring over this threshold, Memphis is 27-13-1 against the spread and 34-7 overall when scoring more than this amount; when giving up fewer than this total number (116.9), they go 27-17-1 against the spread/28-17 overall with an average scoring output of 117.2; that is just four more points than what Memphis allows out per match-up (113.0 for Memphis and 112.0 for LA). The Grizzlies need a healthy Morant in this game.
Game 1 between these teams was tightly contested until late in the fourth quarter, where Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura stood out with solid performances to help propel their Lakers past the Griz. LeBron James led with five different Lakers scoring 19 or more points – and LeBron taking second fiddle behind Reaves, Hachimura, and Anthony Davis.
However, more importantly, for the Lakers was Ja Morant’s absence during clutch time since he suffered a hand injury that kept him out. Morant was in considerable discomfort following the game, and Memphis has stated that his status for Game 2 may be at stake.
Will Morant play? If he doesn’t bet the Lakers, if he does play still bet the Lakers. The Lakers depth killed the Grizzlies in game one of the series, and Memphis will need more bench production, and I don’t see that happening. From my stand point as of right now the Lakers are a better team and have to be one of the favorites to reach the NBA Finals in the west.
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