The continual struggle for the precious playoff appearance ensues. Because of the Utah Jazz‘s loss on Wednesday night, the Los Angeles Lakers have taken the liberty of sneaking into that 8th seed, obviously making Laker fans quite happy.
However, that happiness may be short lived. The Lakers face a difficult challenge this Friday night, the incredibly talented Memphis Grizzlies.
The Lakers and Grizzlies have played each other twice this season, and both outcomes were unfavorable for the Lakers. But, that is in the past, and Lakers have a powerful motivation factor going for them — necessity. If the Lakers can’t beat the Grizzlies, they’ll drop behind the Jazz in the rankings once more. So, the question we must ask ourselves is, what must the Lakers do this time around to get the critical win?
It’s rather simple actually: Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol must dominant Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. The Grizzlies victories primarily revolve around the production and presence of Marc Gasol and Randolph, so if the Lakers big men can find a way to combat these two, then the Lakers have a really good shot at victory.
In terms of the match up between Marc Gasol and Howard, Howard is going to have to focus on defense and rebounds. Marc Gasol is a rebounding machine, and can score at will in the post against smaller centers, which Howard so happens to be. If Howard can find a way to stop Marc Gasol, then Lakers would effectively eliminate a major force in the Grizzlies offense.
The Lakers don’t have to worry too much about Howard not scoring because, unlike the Grizzlies, the Lakers have a pretty offensive backcourt.
For Pau Gasol to have a successful game against Randolph, he has got to out-score him. Lets face it, Pau Gasol can’t defend or rebound against Randolph, so his only hope has got to be to pull Randolph out of the post, and drain mid-range jumpers all night long.
Pau Gasol and Howard are more than capable of winning the game for the Lakers. They just have to will themselves into having an excellent game, and who knows, a win against an elite team could just be the motivating force the Lakers need to take it all the way. Just a bit of hopeful optimism from a true fan.