The Memphis Grizzlies can set a franchise record with their ninth straight victory when they visit the Lakers on Sunday night in Los Angeles.
The Grizzlies won their eighth in a row against the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday afternoon, despite not having coach Taylor Jenkins on the sideline or leading scorer Ja Morant in the lineup for the 123-108 win.
Memphis also lost second-leading scorer Dillon Brooks to an ankle injury against the Clippers, leaving his availability against the Lakers in doubt as well.
Jenkins was in COVID-19 protocol and Morant sat out with soreness in his left thigh.
Morant, who came into Saturday ranked 12th in the NBA at 25 points a game and 16th in assists (6.6), is the reigning Western Conference Player of the Week and owns the third-most All-Star votes among Western Conference guards.
The Grizzlies were also without Kyle Anderson (back soreness), John Konchar (health and safety protocol), Yves Pons (right ankle soreness), Steven Adams (health and safety protocol) and Xavier Tillman Sr. (health and safety protocol).
The Grizzlies have had to test their depth in recent games, and players like Tyus Jones and Brandon Clarke have answered the call.
Jones scored in double figures for the fifth straight game after producing 18 points against the Clippers. He was held to five or fewer points in the five games before the hot stretch.
Clarke had 18 points and 15 rebounds off the bench against the Clippers.
“After seeing this, when we are healthy and guys come back, (we) might have to yell at a couple people if they don’t do what (Jones and Clarke) have been doing,” Morant joked.
The Lakers are beginning to get healthy after being shorthanded most of the season and that’s helped them produce their longest winning streak of the season. The Lakers beat the visiting Atlanta Hawks 134-118 on Friday night for their fourth straight win.
“We’re getting our guys back,” LeBron James said. It’s literally that simple.”
The Lakers won’t have eight-time All-Star center Anthony Davis against the Grizzlies, but the 37-year-old James continues to carry the load while also defying his age.
James scored 32 points against the Hawks to become the oldest player in NBA history to score at least 25 points in 10 straight games. Michael Jordan accomplished that streak at age 34 with the Chicago Bulls.
James is averaging 28.7 points overall, second best in the NBA, 7.4 rebounds and 6.6 assists. He also passed Alvin Robertson on Friday night for 10th on the NBA’s all-time steals list (2,113).
James has been getting some help recently from Malik Monk, who went 7-of-12 from 3-point range and scored 29 points against the Hawks.
Monk is averaging 21.9 points over the past seven games to raise his season average to 12.1.
“Just letting the game come to me and not trying to force shots, and just play the right way and then the ball will come to me,” Monk said. “I just space the floor well for (Russell Westbrook) and (James) in the starting group and then everybody else starts packing the lane after they start getting in the lane and stuff, and they start finding me and I get my shots.”
–Field Level Media