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FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Grizzlies – Game 46

Franchise Sports Media

Los Angeles Lakers (21-25) | Memphis Grizzlies (31-14)

 

The Lake Show arguably had their best win of the season so far, coming from behind and defeating the Memphis Grizzlies 122-121

 

Lakers vs Grizzlies
Photo Credit: Ashley Landis/AP

Anthony Davis continues to make pain-free progress on his right foot, and there’s optimism for a return to the lineup as soon as late next week, per Adrian Wojnarowski. The Lakers start a five-game trip on January 28 against Boston.

Despite lacking the significant impact of Davis on both sides of the court, the Lakers have managed to go 8-9 in the last 17 games without him and 9-11 overall on the season, per Mike Trudell. For those who may wonder, LA is 4-6 without LeBron James.

Darvin Ham told reporters that Lonnie Walker IV is closer to returning than Austin Reaves. Walker IV is being evaluated day-to-day to return to team activities, while Reaves will be re-evaluated in one week.

The Lakers went with the same starters against Memphis with Dennis Schroder, Patrick Beverley, Troy Brown Jr., LeBron James, and Thomas Bryant.

The first two minutes of the ball game were completely scoreless and void of any highlights. Until Dillon Brooks finally had a bucket in the lane. But of course, Memphis would figure it out first as they jumped out to a 4-0 lead. All the while, the Lake Show began the game 0-6 from the field. Luckily, Beverley got them on the board with a three.

James got himself going with a signature fadeaway jumper over Brooks. The Lake Show stuck with it and fought back with a 6-2 run to tie the game up at 9-9 with 6:55 left in the first quarter. King James extended that run after he scored five straight unanswered points, which also included a defensive stop on Ja Morant.

Morant wouldn’t stay quiet for long (0-5 FGs to start), as he elevated over Wenyen Gabriel for an and-1 opportunity. Steven Adams was doing whatever he wanted inside, as he had nine of the Grizzlies’ 16 points. Gabriel and Juan Toscano-Anderson just aren’t big enough to truly put a stop to Adams. It’s also to be mentioned that these two teams are the top two in points in the paint. 

At the end of the first quarter, the score read Lakers 26, Grizzlies 23. LA was 5-12 on threes (41.7%), which gave their offense a boost. Both teams shot under 44% overall. Memphis had 14 points in the paint and nine second-chance points.

Heading into the second quarter, James seemed like he was tracking Desmond Bane, similar to a heat-seeking missile, and as Bane went up for a layup, James accelerated and blocked Bane’s attempt off the glass. That was cool, and all, but Memphis had still opened the quarter on a 9-1 run to lead 32-27 with 9:39 left in the first half.

Morant tried to get a highlight, but he got his pocket picked by Pat Bev. Beverley wanted to get something in transition, but three Grizzlies closely followed him. Bev made a business decision and drew the foul.

 

At halftime, LA only trailed 53-49 despite a 9-0 deficit on the offensive glass. The Lakers shot 37.8% overall to Memphis’ 41.2%.

 

Lakers vs Grizzlies
Photo Credit: Ashley Landis/AP

After the halftime buzzer sounded, Morant’s father, Tee Morant, got into a shouting match with former NFL player and Fox Sports commentator Shannon Sharpe. Referees and security intervened. However, nothing came of it, and Sharpe was back in his seat for the second half.

The second half was still a ball game. The Lake Show was battling, but it had a feel of the Grizzlies allowing them to stay in it. Since both teams were shooting below average, Memphis stayed ahead because of their work on the glass. Memphis led 42-28 in the overall rebounding category and 16-5 in offensive rebounding.

Despite that massive margin in an important category, the Grizzlies only led 72-67 with 5:21 left in the third quarter. However, the Lakers needed to change something, as Brooks snagged another offensive rebound for Memphis off of a free throw, leading to a three for Morant.

LA was allowing the Grizzlies to live in the paint. Nobody was putting a body on anyone. Guys were just jumping for joy on rebounds, and the Lake Show would lose that every time, especially when they’re running three-guard lineups, where none of them can jump out of the building like Morant.

The Lakers were further outworked after Gabriel failed to box out, enabling Brandon Clarke to get another offensive rebound and the second chance points. It also didn’t help when Tyus Jones made his fourth three of the game.

Russell Westbrook got a bank shot to fall, and the Lakers were within eight points after three quarters. It felt like the deficit should’ve been double that, with Memphis ahead in rebounding 50-34 and in offensive rebounding 20-7. However, the score only read 89-81 in Memphis’ favor.

The Lake Show fought Memphis to a standstill to begin the fourth quarter, matching the Grizzlies in scoring at 9-9 until Westbrook threw up and made an awkward shot, which awarded him an and-1 opportunity.

With 8:30 left in regulation, the Lakers were only down 98-93. If they would have solved the rebounding problem early on, this could’ve been a different ball game. King James made it a three-point game after drawing Brooks’ fifth foul. The call was challenged, but the refs upheld their original call. 

The one-possession game didn’t last long as Jaren Jackson Jr. would make his first three of the game, followed by a pick-and-roll bucket for Clarke, and the Grizzlies quickly ballooned their lead back up to eight points.

Kendrick Nunn stepped up with a three that cut the lead back down to five and re-energized the crowd. A stroke of good fortune, as Jackson Jr. was called for an offensive foul, his fourth total. After a Westbrook transition layup, the lead was down to three.

However, Morant would quell the building momentum with a spinning layup. The Grizzlies still led 107-102 with 3:45 left in regulation. Coming out of a timeout, LA ran a beautiful play that got Bryant loose for an alley-oop dunk. Ham also opted to foul Adams, who is one of the worst free throw shooters in the league, but of course, he would make both.

James would stay aggressive, attacking the basket and drawing the attention of Jackson, who would commit his fifth foul of the game. Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins made the clever play to sub Adams out for Clarke, but LA would instead foul Clarke, who would also make both. 

Brown stepped up for the Lake Show with another three. This time Ham opted for no foul. The Lakers were not going to go away easy. Westbrook went straight at Brooks, and the latter was called for their final foul of the game, kicking him out of play.

Schroder would get sent to the line and would cut the lead down to three. However, Nunn would get too aggressive and fouled Jones in the backcourt, putting an excellent free-throw shooter on the line to push the lead back to five.

James would clean up Westbrook’s miss, and Westbrook would return the favor to James by cleaning up the king’s miss. The lead was down to one point. Jones would get sent to the line once more, and of course, the lead would be back up to three. There were only 17.8 seconds left.

Schroder would get to the line and hit both, cutting the lead down to one. On the very next defensive possession, Bane was lost and didn’t see Schroder, and the latter got the steal from behind. Schroder took it for the and-1, gifting the Lake Show with a two-point lead at 122-120 with 7.6 seconds left.

Morant would try to equalize, but he couldn’t cash in. Memphis had a last chance with Clarke being sent to the line as Gabriel got too aggressive on the rebound. Clarke was money before, but he split the free throws, allowing the Lake Show to come back and win 122-121.

 

Key Takeaways

 

Lakers vs Grizzlies
Photo Credit: Ashley Landis/AP

LA improved to 21-25. Westbrook had 29 points (2-4 3PM), five rebounds, and six assists. King James totaled 23 points (1-5 3PM), nine rebounds, six assists, two steals, and two blocks. Schroder made the game-winning play and had 19 points (10-11 FTs), eight rebounds, eight assists, and three steals.

Morant was held in check with 22 points (9-29 FGs, 1-6 3PM, 3-5 FTs) and eight assists. Clarke and Jones combined for 40 points (13-16 FGs) off the bench, with Clarke adding on ten rebounds and two blocks. Adams controlled the glass with 17 rebounds and 16 points. Bane did his thing with 16 points, nine rebounds, and six assists. Brooks was horrible with nine points on 4-17 FGs.

Ham, after the game, credited the Lakers for battling until the end tonight and not giving up, telling reporters, “It goes a long way for our momentum, our mentality, and our togetherness.”

 

The Lakers will now take on the Portland Trail Blazers. They’ll face off on Sunday, January 22nd, at 6:00 p.m. PT at the Moda Center. The game will be available on NBA League Pass, Spectrum SportsNet, and Root Sports Northwest.

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– Jake Ideguchi-Furukawa – Franchise Sports Media

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