Grizzlies begin critical road trip versus Lakers
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Memphis Grizzlies begin a huge two-game road trip for massive playoff implications Sunday night when they voyage to the Staples Center to meet the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Grizzlies are a half-game ahead of the Phoenix Suns for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Memphis is one game behind the Dallas Mavericks for seventh and two in back of the Golden State Warriors, who are sixth.
Memphis has won two in a row and three of its last four as the Grizzlies try to get back into the postseason. The Grizzlies were swept by the San Antonio Spurs in last year's Western Conference Finals.
And this mini road trip west will be huge. After Sunday's tilt with the Lakers, Memphis visits the Suns on Monday, then closes the regular season with a home game against the Mavericks.
"This is very much a business trip because of everything we've been through all season long," said Memphis head coach Dave Joerger. "We'll really hone in. It is easy to look at the Phoenix game, but we have to take care of business."
On Friday, Marc Gasol totaled 21 points and 10 rebounds, Mike Miller scored 19 points off the bench and the Grizzlies picked up a crucial win over the Philadelphia 76ers, 117-95.
Tony Allen had 15 points for Memphis, which matched a franchise record set last season with its 13th straight home win. Zach Randolph posted 10 points, 11 boards and four assists.
The Grizzlies have lost two straight on the road and four of their last five as the visitor.
The Lakers have dropped six in a row and eight of their last nine.
On Friday, LA watched as the Golden State Warriors clinched a playoff berth with a 112-95 road win over the Lakers.
Nick Young netted 25 points off the bench to lead Los Angeles, which has dropped four home games in a row. Jordan Hill had 18 points and 12 rebounds, while Ryan Kelly also registered a double-double with 14 points and 11 boards. Jodie Meeks managed 10 in the loss.
The Lakers set a franchise-record with their 54th loss of the season, passing the 1957-58 Minneapolis Lakers, who dropped 53 in a 72-game campaign.
Los Angeles will miss the playoffs for the first time since the 2004-05 season. Injuries destroyed their hopes as Kobe Bryant essentially missed the season, Steve Nash was down more often than in the lineup and Pau Gasol has been sidelined recently with vertigo.
Sunday will mark the home finale for the Lakers. They close the season in Utah and San Antonio.
"Collectively as a group, we want to finish strong," Meeks said. "You can accomplish something every game. For the most part, we want to go out, not give up and keep playing hard. We have a good opportunity the last game at home to try and come out with a good mindset and try to get that win"
The Grizzlies have won two of three this season against the Lakers and five of the last seven meetings. Memphis has gone 3-2 in its last five as the visitor in this series.
04/13 10:21:21 ET