In a back-and-forth, energetic game one of this Western Conference series, both the Memphis Grizzlies and the Los Angeles Lakers are throwing every punch that they have in their systems.
Multiple injury scares were present in the opener, and the status of Ja Morant is up in the air on whether or not he will be able to endure the pain of his right hand injury.
The Lakers, as a unit, certainly look stronger than the seventh seed they were able to earn by winning their play-in game against the Timberwolves.
Anthony Davis and LeBron James did what they usually do, but the story of the first game was the emergence of Austin Reaves in the fourth quarter, who sparked a 15-0 run to close the game.
If the Grizzlies are without Morant in their lineup, they might have to figure out where to find some scoring at the end of the game in order to not let such a lopsided run ruin them again.
Ahead of the Wednesday night tip-off, the Memphis Grizzlies are favored on their home court over the Lakers at -1.5.
Pounding the paint and banking on Reaves
The biggest surprise of the opening game had to come from Austin Reaves, who erupted in the fourth quarter to decisively steal the opener.
If he continues to play at such a high level, any team in the league is going to have trouble containing the Lakers offense.
Davis was able to put together a fairly good performance, but questions still loom about his longevity and how healthy he can stay for the entirety of the playoffs.
The Lakers are still mostly about defense and that was rock solid throughout the night.
No more room to breathe for the Grizzlies
Opening against the Lakers in this matchup as a seventh seed was an unfortunate draw for Memphis. They’re desperately missing Steven Adams in this series to contend with Davis down low.
Rebounding has become near impossible, and now they are going to deal with Morant’s injury and how limited he may be on offense.
It does not bode well for the Grizzlies and their star young player, but their team still has plenty of pieces that can do damage.
They could point to the closing few minutes by the Lakers as where they lost the game, and if that would have gone a little bit more in their favor it would have been a completely different conversation.
Lakers @ Grizzlies Betting Prediction
Both teams have a lot to lose in this series and will be fighting for their lives in the action of game two.
Most of the spread of this game will be predicated on whether or not Morant is able to give it a go, but an aggravated wrist does not bode well for the superstar.
Morant is needed for the Grizzlies offense, and he will likely be limited regardless. Roll with the Lakers as the underdogs in game two at +1.5.
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