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Reply To: NBA • Wednesday Service Plays • 2/24/16

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Preview: L.A. Lakers At Memphis

When: 8:00 PM ET, Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Where: FedExForum, Memphis, Tennessee

The Memphis Grizzlies learned that center Marc Gasol will officially miss the rest of the season, an injury that likely prohibits Memphis’ chances of rising higher than fifth place in the tough Western Conference. The Grizzlies begin a home-and-home against the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday in Memphis and aim to beat the Lakers for the eighth straight time before the teams play again Friday in Los Angeles.

Gasol broke his right foot on Feb. 8 and underwent surgery last Saturday, and the team made the announcement on Tuesday that he is done for the campaign after the navicular bone was repaired. “It is frustrating to not be on the court with my teammates at this time,” Gasol said in a statement. “But I understand that the focus of this process is on long-term health and stability. I look forward to the road ahead and a full and successful recovery.” The Grizzlies likely don’t need Gasol’s presence against the Lakers, who have dropped six consecutive games. Kobe Bryant will be looking to bounce back from a sour outing in Monday’s 108-101 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, a contest in which he was 3-of-12 shooting while scoring 15 points.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, TWC SportsNet (Los Angeles), FSN Southeast (Memphis)

ABOUT THE LAKERS (11-47): Rookie forward Larry Nance Jr. had to leave the loss to the Bucks due to pain in his troublesome right knee and the team is considering shutting him down for the season. Nance recently returned from a stretch in which he sat out 10 of 13 games due to discomfort in the knee and he played less than 10 minutes against Milwaukee in his third game back. “We’ve talked about it, they’ve talked about it, but at the same time, at this point right now, it’s precautionary,” Nance told reporters about the prospects of not playing again this season.

ABOUT THE GRIZZLIES (32-23): Small forward Lance Stephenson fared well in his team debut with 18 points in Sunday’s 98-85 loss to the Toronto Raptors after being acquired at last Thursday’s trade deadline from the Los Angeles Clippers for forward Jeff Green. Stephenson struggled with the Clippers and was a poor fit, and it remains to be seen whether he will repeatedly produce similar to how he did against the Raptors. “Lance looked good,” point guard Mike Conley told reporters. “He adjusted really quickly. We kind of slimmed down the playbook a little bit and just gave him three or four plays to remember and just let him play in space and he’s really good at that.”

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Bryant scored 14 points on 6-of-15 shooting when the Lakers lost 112-96 in Memphis on Dec. 27.

2. Conley had just eight points on 2-of-12 shooting against the Raptors after averaging 24 points over the previous three games.

3. Memphis G Tony Allen (knee) is expected to miss his second straight game.

PREDICTION: Grizzlies 116, Lakers 95