Lakers look to extend streak vs. Grizzlies

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Lakers will try to win their fourth straight game against the Memphis Grizzlies at Staples Center when they meet Sunday evening.

The Lakers started the streak on March 22, 2016, and beat visiting Memphis again Jan. 3 and April 2 of last season. However, just one of the 10 players who started those three games for Los Angeles is likely to start on Sunday.

The Lakers (4-5) are expected to go with the same starting group they used in a 124-112 win against the visiting Brooklyn Nets on Friday night; rookie point guard Lonzo Ball and rookie power forward Kyle Kuzma, second-year small forward Brandon Ingram and offseason acquisitions Brook Lopez at center and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope at shooting guard.

Kuzma, the 27th overall pick in the most recent NBA Draft, moved into the starting lineup after Larry Nance Jr. sustained a fracture in his left hand in a 113-110 loss at the Portland Trailblazers on Thursday. Kuzma's new role didn't affect the remarkable start to his first season.

He had 21 points on 8-for-11 shooting and grabbed 13 rebounds to join Ball as one of three NBA rookies this season to have at least 20 points and 10 assists or rebounds. Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers is the other.

Ball has seen his stock pivot the opposite direction of Kuzma's in recent games. The No. 2 overall pick in June shot 3 for 15 against the Nets, a night after going scoreless against the Trail Blazers. Ball is shooting 30.8 percent from the floor, but has only bettered that mark in two of nine games this season.

Memphis point guard Mike Conley told that he can relate to Ball, whose father, Lavar, has been an outspoken and somewhat controversial supporter of his three sons. Conley's father, Mike Conley, Sr., was an elite track and field athlete, winning an Olympic gold medal in the triple jump at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

"Between us two, I think if you read between the lines of being young guys coming into the league to run teams, and having dads in the spotlight -- it's as close as it gets," Conley said. "I know my situation is a little different. I wasn't as highly touted as Lonzo. But I can definitely look at him and see it, look at his situation, how good he is now, how much room he has to grow and how much better he's going to be."

The Lakers have also been getting good production lately from Lopez, who came to Los Angeles from the Nets in the same deal that included the draft pick that landed Kuzma.

Lopez scored 27 points against the Trail Blazers and came back with 34 points and 10 rebounds against his former team on Friday, becoming the first Los Angeles player since Kobe Bryant in November 2014 to post at least 30 points and 10 rebounds. Lopez upped his scoring average to a team-high 15.9 points, moving him past Kuzma (15.7).

"When you have the talent level that Brook has," Lakers coach Luke Walton said, "and you've been in the league long enough, you can anticipate a player of that level having a big game against his old team. It's just the way our league works."

The Grizzlies (6-3) won at Staples Center on Saturday afternoon, getting a team-high 22 points from Conley in the 113-104 victory against the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Grizzlies also got key contributions off the bench from guards Tyreke Evans and Mario Chalmers, who scored 20 and 12 points, as well as 13 and 10 points from forwards Brandon Wright and Chandler Parsons as they ended a two-game losing streak.

They'll look to end another streak in the same building on Sunday.
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