With four straight losses and an injury list longer than Brandon Ingram’s limbs, the Los Angeles Lakers came into Saturday’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies looking for the team’s first victory since March 13th. Though it took the entire 48 minutes to put down a Grizzlies group that’s kind of sort of trying to lose at all costs, the Lakers beat Memphis 100-93 in order to earn their 32nd victory of the season.
In the game’s opening 12 minutes, the Lakers’ offense was uglier than a Mark Madsen dance solo. Los Angeles shot 27 percent from the field, trailing the Grizzlies 28-17 at the end of the first.
With the team in need of a boost from anywhere one could be found in the second quarter, Lakers forward Travis “Good Ryan Kelly” Wear hit three triples and had 11 points in his first game since his roster spot became guaranteed for the season as Los Angeles cut Memphis’ lead to just 5 at the half.
Momentum stayed with the Lakers after the half as Purple and Gold tied up the game at 71-71 going into the fourth. Despite a slow start to the quarter, the Lakers seemingly woke up after Kentavious Caldwell-Pope converted a game-tying four-point play with just over nine minutes remaining.
Kyle Kuzma, who added to his superb rookie resume with a 25 point, 10 rebound performance, hit his fourth three-pointer of the game with 45 seconds left to give the Lakers a 96-89 lead and essentially end things.
Kuzma’s fellow rookie and roast-recipient Lonzo Ball ended his six-game streak of single digit scoring with a near triple-double, notching 12 points, 10 assists, and 8 rebounds on 5-of-13 shooting in 42 minutes of play. Despite starting 0-5 from the field, Julius Randle tallied another double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
JaMychal Green went bully to bully with Randle, dropping 17 points and securing 16 rebounds as the two power-forwards took turns snatching each other’s lunch money. Andrew Harrison, who shot 7-of-15 from the field and recorded nine assists, led the Grizzlies in scoring with 20 points.
While Los Angeles’ narrow victory over a now 19-54 Memphis team far from warrants exuberant celebration, a win is a win. The Lakers have the day off Sunday before Monday’s road matchup with the 33-40 Detroit Pistons.