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Memphis Grizzlies vs. Los Angeles Lakers series predictions in first round of 2023 NBA playoffs

Here’s an in-depth look at the matchup between the Lakers and the Grizzlies in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.

2023 Play-In Tournament - Minnesota Timberwolves v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

The No. 2 Memphis Grizzlies take on the No. 7 Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the 2023 NBA Playoffs. Game 1 of the series is at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 16. Here are our picks and predictions for the series. All odds are courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.

Grizzlies vs. Lakers predictions

Odds to win series: Grizzlies -130, Lakers +110
Regular season record: Grizzlies 51-31, Lakers 43-39
Head-to-head record: Lakers 2-1

The head-to-head games in the regular season don’t exactly present a useful tool for seeing what is going to happen in this series. Russell Westbrook put up 29 points for the Lakers in one game before being traded, and LeBron James sat out two of the games. Ja Morant missed one matchup, and Steven Adams made an impact in the regular season but is injured for the playoffs.

So how can we predict this series? The Lakers had a close one against the Timberwolves in the play-in game despite Minnesota’s roster being somewhat depleted, but pulled out an overtime win. They have a fully healthy roster for just about the first time this season, and bring a lot of experience that the Grizzlies don’t have. However, Memphis’ youth has become a trademark in the last few years, and something is clearly working there as the Grizzlies earned the No. 2 seed.

Two of the top rebounding teams in the NBA go up against each other here (and two of the worst three-point shooting teams, which makes for an interesting combination). Both teams rank in the top five in the NBA in fastbreak points. They are very evenly matched on a lot of stat lines, and this should be some entertaining basketball. However, I think LeBron and AD end up getting it done.

Pick: Lakers in 7 games

The Lakers have more combined experience as a team — while that certainly isn’t everything, it does come in handy in the playoffs, especially with Morant in a potential downswing right now after his return from a personal absence. The Grizzlies will take it down to the line, but the Lakers, who have gone 9-2 in their last 11 games with their stars on the court, advance in seven.