Memphis Grizzlies Latest Team to Slow Los Angeles Lakers’ Pace to a Crawl

In some ways, the Los Angeles Lakers were unlucky to lose 89-86 Friday night against the Memphis Grizzlies. They fell victim to several tough shots from Zach Randolph and were a missed three-pointer by Steve Blake away from tying the game in the final seconds.

But the Lakers also caught several breaks—not the least of which was the Grizzlies' horrific three-point shooting. Memphis made one of 13 threes on the night. This was only the second time in Grizzlies' team history in which they won a game while shooting more than 10 threes at a clip under eight percent. 

So how did the Lakers manage to lose this game? They lost because they played the Grizzlies' game at the Grizzlies' speed.


The 99-Point Barrier

Sometimes it's just this simple: The Lakers do not win when they score fewer than 99 points.

Here's the breakdown:

The Lakers came into Friday leading the NBA in pace factor, averaging exactly 100 possessions per game. But they are not an efficient offense, coming in nearly last (27th) in the league in both offensive rating and total turnovers.

To win, they must force their opponents to play uptempo, inefficient basketball. When the scores are in the triple digits, the Lakers are a dangerous team.  

Though the Grizzlies have struggled thus far, they are a veteran team that knows how to slow down the pace, milk the shot clock and avoid the kind of turnovers that lead to easy fast-break points. 

The Grizzlies beat the Lakers by doing all the things a slow-paced team needs to do to beat a fast-paced one. They kept the turnover damage to a minimum, as L.A. scored 16 points off Memphis turnovers.

Memphis used Zach Randolph's slow, low-post game to devastating effect: He finished with 28 points on 11-of-18 shooting.

They won the free-throw battle, hitting all 14 attempts, while the Lakers hi...

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