Gasol vs. Gasol: Memphis Grizzlies vs. Los Angeles Lakers [PREVIEW]

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The Los Angeles Lakers were expected to struggle early in the season without their superstar. Those were not the same expectations for the Grizzlies, which are off to a bad start despite a complete and healthy roster.

The Lakers (4-6) have actually more wins over the Grizzlies (3-5) owing to big upsets wins over quality teams Los Angeles Clippers, 116-103, and Houston Rockets, 99-98, in the early part of the season.

However, the Lakers have struggled of late, losing three of their last four games. The last four losses have been bad too, with an average margin of losses of 16.3 points per game.

Only Pau Gasol has been the consistent offensive force for the Lakers, and even his numbers looks pedestrian compared to his career numbers. The 33-year-old Spanish power forward averages 13.4 points in eight games this season, down from 18.3 PPG for his career.

Still without Kobe Bryant, the Lakers could also miss Gasol, who’s listed as day-to-day, and Steve Nash, who’s out with a nerve root irritation, against Memphis on Friday night.

The surprising Grizzlies struggle has been because of their lack of defense—an aspect they were very good at last season. Memphis limited opponents to 89.3 PPG (1st in the NBA) in 2012-2013, but they have allowed them to 99.4 PPG (15th) in 2013-14.

The play on the other end has not been a problem for Memphis. They still have the old reliables in Zach Randolph (12.6 PPG and 8.1 RPG), Marc Gasol (16.0 PPG and 6.8 RPG) and Mike Conley (20.1 PPG, 5.3 APG and 1.9 SPG) to take care of their offense.

Betting Against the Spread (ATS) Betting Lines: Memphis Grizzlies (-3.5) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (O/U: 199.0)

Memphis Grizzlies Trends - Grizzlies are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games on the road - Grizzlies are 1-9 ATS in their last 10 games - Grizzlies are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games vs. Pacific division teams - Grizzlies are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games after a loss

Los Angeles Lakers Trends - The home team is 9-4-1 ATS in their last 14 games between the Lakers and Grizzlies - Lakers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games at home - Lakers are 4-9 ATS in their last 13 games vs. West teams - Lakers are 0-3-1 in their last 4 games vs. the Grizzlies

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