Fans haven’t been able to say this during any season in quite a while, but it was true tonight: The Los Angeles Lakers were just flat out more talented than their opponent. For the first half, they rode that talent disparity to play basically even with the Memphis Grizzlies, and then in the second, thoroughly outplayed their lesser opponent to run away with an 120-91 victory.
This one was all about Anthony Davis, despite not knowing for sure until gametime that he would be able to play — he is dealing with a sore shoulder. That’s definitely going to be something to monitor the next few days.
What might not help that ailing shoulder was the roughly 37,000 free-throw attempts Davis had Tuesday night, but if he wasn’t feeling well, you wouldn’t be able to notice by his shooting ability. He finished 26 of 27 from the charity stripe — breaking Dwight Howard’s record for most made free throws by a Laker — en route to a monster 40-point, 20-rebound effort, numbers not previously seen since in a Laker uniform Shaquille O’Neal in 2003.
The Lakers led by only two points after the first half, but just absolutely demolished the Grizzlies in the third, finishing that quarter on a 22-0 run. The game was never close again, and the Lakers were able to get their star duo — Davis’ co-star LeBron James finished with 23 points and 8 assists in 28 minutes — some much needed rest in the fourth.
One major difference in the game (once again) was Dwight Howard’s energy compared to his starting counterpart, JaVale McGee. One game sample sizes for plus-minus is obviously a flawed way to analyze basketball, but it’s pretty telling that with the game heading for garbage time, McGee held a negative plus-minus. That would change as the Lakers extended their lead with the game already decided, but it’s really noticeable what the Lakers are capable with Howard in there in McGee’s place.
The highlight of the night was with about a minute to go, Lakers fans got a “Taco Tuesday” chant going. Had James actually figured out a way to trademark that, he could’ve had a nice little payday.
The Lakers fans started cheering “Taco Tuesday” and LeBron was dancing along pic.twitter.com/HuhoUlnxsO— Ali B (@ali_behpoornia) October 30, 2019
The Lakers have a couple days off and then resume play in November, when they take on the Mavericks in Dallas on Friday.