Los Angeles Lakers at Memphis Grizzlies (-4, 188)
Pau Gasol's next game against his former team will be his first in a bench role - and may be his last as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. Gasol returns to Memphis with his current club in disarray as the Lakers take on the Grizzlies in a Wednesday night tilt. The Lakers have dropped three straight games and have looked dreadful in doing so, prompting head coach Mike D'Antoni to take Gasol out of the starting lineup in favor of Earl Clark. Rumors persist that Gasol will be traded prior to the Feb. 21 deadline.
Things are much more positive in Memphis, where the Grizzlies remain a top-four team in the Western Conference as they reach the halfway point of their season. Memphis has been just fine without Pau in the frontcourt, as younger brother Marc has excelled at center and Zach Randolph is among the league leaders in rebounding at power forward. The Grizzlies are coming off an 82-81 defeat at the hands of the Indiana Pacers on Monday, and shook things up Tuesday by trading three players to Cleveland.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, Time Warner Cable SportsNet (Los Angeles), SportSouth (Memphis)
ABOUT THE LAKERS (17-24): With turmoil plaguing the team for most of the season, Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant decided to take a break from present-day happenings and focus on the past. The future Hall of Famer celebrated Tuesday's seventh anniversary of his 81-point performance against the Toronto Raptors by watching the game in its entirety for the first time. As a treat to fans, he broke in his relatively new Twitter account by sending out messages while the game was being re-broadcast. Bryant may need to channel some of his 2006 performance Wednesday as he faces off against a Memphis club allowing the second-fewest points per game in the league (89.4).
ABOUT THE GRIZZLIES (26-14): Memphis made a minor move Tuesday, dealing Marreese Speights, Wayne Ellington, Josh Selby and a heavily protected future draft pick to the Cavaliers for forward Jon Leuer and a trade exception. The deal was conducted with business in mind - it saves the Grizzlies $6 million against the salary cap and eliminates the need to pay a luxury tax bill of roughly $4 million. "It’s a trade that had to be made ... so that we can keep our core together and we move forward," Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins told the Memphis Commercial Appeal. "I hate to lose Mo and Wayne and Josh but it's part of the business of basketball."
* Lakers are 1-5 ATS in their last six road games.
* Grizzlies are 4-1 ATS in their last ive5 vs. NBA Pacific foes
* Under is 6-1 in Lakers’ last 7 overall.
* Under is 5-1 in Grizzlies’ last six home games.
1. Memphis has won two straight meetings, including a 106-98 victory over the Lakers on Nov. 23.
2. The Lakers' Gasol averages 14.9 points and 10 rebounds in 14 games against his former team.
3. Randolph and the Lakers' Dwight Howard are the only players in the NBA to average at least 16 points and 11 rebounds.