Lakers vs Grizzlies Preview & Free Pick [January 5th 2021]

LA Lakers (5-2) at Memphis (2-4)
When: Tuesday, January 5th, 2021
Where: FedEx Forum,
Memphis, TN
Time: 8:00 ET | TV: NBA TV
Opening Odds: Los Angeles -9.5/218

For the second time in three days, the Memphis Grizzlies will host the Los Angeles Lakers and hope for a better result this time around. The Lakers turned a two-point fourth quarter lead into a 108-94 victory on Sunday afternoon, giving them their third straight win behind a big final quarter from LeBron James. The Grizzlies have struggled since losing star guard Ja Morant on Dec. 28 with a sprained ankle. Memphis has lost two of three since but did have a nice 15-point road win at Charlotte on Jan. 1. Morant, who leads the team in scoring at 26.3, is expected to be out another 2-4 weeks. The Grizzlies have struggled in Memphis, and are still looking for their first win on their home court. They are 0-3 ATS at home and 2-4 ATS overall. Lakers center Marc Gasol, who spent 11 seasons in Memphis and became the franchise’s all-time leader in rebounds, blocked shots and minutes, played his first game there in two years. He finished with seven points, six rebounds and four assists in 24 minutes.

L.A. won three of the four meetings last season, but the over hasn’t hit in the last nine games between these teams. They are also both 0-3 to the over in their last three games overall. The Lakers have only hit the over twice, this year, missing it in all three road games and they are 4-3 ATS for the season. The total in this game is set at 218 with the Lakers favored by nine.

The Lakers had six players hit double-digit points in the win in Memphis on Sunday. LeBron James had a game-high 22 points with 13 of them coming in the deciding fourth quarter. He also had 13 rebounds and eight assists, while Anthony Davis finished with 17 points and nine rebounds. Through seven games, first year Laker Dennis Schroder is averaging 16.3 points and 4.9 assists, while former Clipper Montrezl Harrell is averaging 12.9 points and 7.6 rebounds off the bench for L.A. Kyle Kuzma delivered 11 points in place of the injured Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. James had averaged 35 minutes or more in his first 16 seasons in the NBA. It dropped to 34.6 last year and 32.1 so far this year, but the Lakers depth is giving him a chance to rest more.

Tyus Jones started the past two games in place of Morant and has fared admirably. Jones recorded six points, 12 assists and one turnover in the win over Charlotte and 14 points and five rebounds on Sunday against the Lakers. Memphis is also relying more on Kyle Anderson, who led the team with 18 points on Sunday, while Jonas Valanciunas had 14 points and 10 rebounds. Morant is expected to be out until early February, which doesn’t help a team that is already ranked 23rd in point differential. Memphis had four players contribute with double-digit points on Sunday. The Grizzlies will continue their four-game homestand against Cleveland on Thursday.

All signs point to the under in this one and the biggest reason is the absence of Morant for Memphis. The offense isn’t the greatest with him and will struggle to score 100 once again versus the Lakers. Another trend in our favor is that the under has come in each of the last nine meetings between these teams and most of them pretty easily.

Check out who Bobby Babowski has on his Free NBA Picks page for today. He is on a sizzling 6-2 run!

Pick: Under 218