As the Los Angeles Lakers look for their second straight win tonight, against the Memphis Grizzlies, they face a tough foe. When Pau Gasol faces his former team, the most common connection made, and rightfully so, is to his brother Marc, who was part of the trade back in 2008 that brought Pau to Los Angeles. However, when facing the Grizzlies, the Gasol vs. Gasol matchup down low isn't the one to watch; rather, Pau Gasol vs. Zach Randolph is the battle to keep an eye on.
Randolph won NBA Western Conference Player of the Month in January, averaging 22.4 points and 14.2 rebounds per game last month as the Grizzlies went 11-6, clawing their way back into the playoff race. The Lakers have faced Memphis three times this season. On November 2, Randolph didn't play, and the Lakers won handily at Staples Center. In the other two games, Randolph played and the Grizzlies won, once in Memphis and once in Los Angeles.
In fact, Randolph has given the Lakers trouble for some time. Since Gasol has joined the Lakers, he has matched up with Randolph five times, including once when Randolph was a Clipper. Randolph's teams have won three of the five games, and the two losses have been by one and three points, respectively. In their matchups, Randolph has averaged 18.8 points and 11.4 rebounds, shooting 48.7% from the field, while Gasol has scored 14.2 points, grabbed 10.6 rebounds, and shot 45.8%.
Handling Randolph tonight will be key for the Lakers if they want to pick up their second win in as many games on the trip. Tonight's 5 p.m. PST game will be televised on KCAL. For more information on tonight's game, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.