Following a discouraging loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Friday, the Los Angeles Lakers routed the No. 5 seed Memphis Grizzlies on the second night of a back-to-back 111-88. You know, like everyone expected.
The key for both teams going into the game was pace. The Grizzlies are ranked dead last in the league in pace (96.68) but they’ve have had success making other teams teams play at their tempo this season.
That wasn’t the case against L.A., who had Memphis running for the full 48 minutes. The Lakers outscored the Grizzlies on the fastbreak 15-13.
A big reason they were able to do this was the production they got from their guards. Josh Hart was especially impressive, bouncing back from his poor shooting night in San Antonio by dropping 16 points on 5-10 shooting from the field, including 4-7 shooting from behind the arc. The 23-year-old also contributed 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals in his second straight start.
It was just one game, but if Hart continues to mesh well with the first unit, head coach Luke Walton might be forced to make a difficult decision when Brandon Ingram returns from injury.
The Lakers’ big also made life hard on the Grizzlies, out rebounding them 55-34. Tyson Chandler and JaVale McGee accounted for 24 of those rebounds.
Of course, the scoring had to come from somewhere other than just Hart for the Lakers to walk away with the win. LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma ended the night with 20 points apiece on an equally efficient 50 percent shooting from the field.
While James went 0-3 from behind the 3-point line, Kuzma found his stroke, converting four of his eight attempts. It was all-around impressive performance from the Lakers in what was supposed to be a schedule loss for them.
The Lakers will jump on a plane back home to L.A. and get some rest before hosting the Miami Heat at Staples Center on Monday for James’ final showdown with former teammate and close friend Dwyane Wade. We’ll see you then.
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