Grizzlies hope to have injured Gasol against Lakers
LOS ANGELES — The Memphis Grizzlies will attempt to add to the woes of the Los Angeles Lakers when the teams meet Tuesday night at Staples Center.
The Grizzlies kicked off a four-game road trip on Saturday with a 112-98 win over the Sacramento Kings. Point guard Mike Conley led the way with 22 points and eight rebounds for Memphis (22-14), which has victories in four of its last six games.
Unfortunately for the Grizzlies, center Marc Gasol suffered an ankle injury against the Kings and was forced to leave the game in the third quarter. Although X-rays were negative, his status for Tuesday hasn’t been determined.
“Obviously, it’s soft tissue involved and now it’s painful,” Gasol told the Memphis Commercial Appeal after the win. “It’s tender right now, so we’ll take it day by day just like always.
“With those kind of injuries, you take it day to day and get as much treatment as you need and as you can and try to make the pain go away as soon as possible.”
Conley, who returned Saturday after a two-game absence because of a toe injury, expects Gasol to play.
“We have a mental mindset — a mental toughness about this group that it feeds off of one another,” Conley said, according to the Commercial Appeal. “One guy goes down and he comes back, everybody else is like ‘Man, I can’t be sitting down because I have a sore elbow or I’m sick’ so everybody feeds off of that. We have that kind of mentality and it makes us a different team, I think.”
If Gasol is unable to perform, forward Zach Randolph could get the start. Randolph, who has been coming off the bench this season, is averaging 16 points and 6.8 rebounds in the last five games. He scored 14 points and collected six rebounds against the Kings.
The Lakers (12-25) have been falling faster than a rock in the ocean. In their last outing, Los Angeles endured a fourth-quarter malaise in a 123-114 loss to the Toronto Raptors at Staples. The defeat was the third in a row for the Lakers and the 15th in their last 17 games.
Toronto turned a two-point edge into a 19-point advantage by converting their first eight shots from the field in the fourth quarter. Much of the Lakers’ troubles centered around point guard Kyle Lowry, who scored 20 of his season-high 41 points in the fourth quarter.
Guard Nick Young continued his sizzling shooting in the setback. Young made 7 of 9 from 3-point range and scored 26 points. In his past eight games, Young has connected on 36 of 64 from long distance, the most 3-pointers made in an eight-game stretch by any player in Lakers history.
“He has been great for us,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. “What I’m really proud of with Nick is a lot of his shots are coming in the flow of the game.”
The Lakers will need Young’s flow and more in their second meeting with the Grizzlies. On Dec. 3, Memphis captured a 103-100 win at home over Los Angeles.