The Lakers continued their downward spiral on Friday with another candidate for the worst loss of the season, losing to the Grizzlies 127-113.
After an uncharacteristic bad game from LeBron James, he came out this game on a mission draining threes, dishing dimes, and putting the team on his back. He ended the game with 32 points, five rebounds, seven assists, and five steals. After a slow start, Anthony Davis turned it up and scored 31 points, six rebounds, four assists, and a block.
Austin Reaves had a great complete game scoring 19 points, with a season-high 12 assists, seven rebounds, and two steals. Christian Wood played well and ended the game with 11 points, five rebounds, and a steal.
The Lakers and Grizzlies had an evenly matched pace to start the game, with both teams taking turns leading for the first six minutes. AD and Austin were involved early offensively. LeBron began heating up and made four three-pointers in a row.
LBJ IS ON— NBA (@NBA) January 6, 2024
4/4 from DEEP for LeBron James in the 1Q
Lakers-Grizzlies | Live on ESPN pic.twitter.com/6oe3gBDMKD
As soon as Wood checked in, he scored seven points, including a three-pointer. It helped keep the team's spirit higher than it's been in the last few games and they began rolling. The Lakers led 38-29 at the end of the first.
The Grizzlies had a small surge to get the game within six at the start of the second, but the Lakers answered back to push it back to double digits. Jarred Vanderbilt chipped in with his excellent defense to help keep the Lakers lead.
Marcus Smart, who before this game had missed his last 13 three-pointers, knocked down five of eight in the first half to help keep the Grizzlies within reach. A Desmond Bane 3-pointer brought them within two with two minutes left in the half.
The Lakers were able to weather the Grizzlies surge, but another Bane three made it a one-point game at halftime.
Austin Reaves gets crafty for the and-1 bucket!— NBA (@NBA) January 6, 2024
Lakers-Grizzlies | Live on ESPN pic.twitter.com/XzmNWl3OrO
Memphis took the lead by three to start the third quarter. The Lakers started with lackluster energy and that sparked the Grizzlies spirit. A Taurean Prince 3-pointer helped the Lakers retake the lead by one.
The Grizzlies were knocking down plenty of 3-pointers in this game which was helping them stay afloat. Jaren Jackson Jr. got into the three-ball party and drilled a few of his own.
The notable moment of the quarter came when Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins was assessed a technical foul after losing his mind over JJJ and LeBron battling for the loose ball. Jaren was holding onto LeBron’s arm causing him to elbow Jaren to get his arm out. That caused all the chaos and commotion from Jenkins.
Taylor Jenkins playing defense he was so mad about LeBron elbowing JJJ pic.twitter.com/zmGqgnBO6E— CJ Fogler account may or may not be notable (@cjzero) January 6, 2024
AD, who was having a slow game, picked it up immensely and was leaving his mark all over this quarter. With a minute left in the third, it was once again a one-point game, thanks to a Ja Morant 3-pointer.
Austin stopped the bleeding to tie the game going into the fourth, 94-94.
AD with the handles and the hammer! pic.twitter.com/0MoFds0Yfn— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) January 6, 2024
The Lakers were turning the ball over more than they did in the first half, helping the Grizzlies start gaining momentum in the fourth quarter. A LeBron 3-pointer almost helped stop the bleeding, but the Grizzlies answered back and were up five.
The Lakers' energy was quickly depleting as the Grizzlies kept their momentum going and had an eight-point lead with four minutes left in the game.
A Bane 3-pointer put a dagger straight into the Lakers' heart. They were still down by eight, but their spirits were looking low with three minutes left in the game. Smart then twisted the dagger even worse and made what felt like his 450th 3-pointer. The Lakers lost what easily could’ve been a win.
It’s been a recurrence throughout the season, the Lakers just can’t defend the three and that helps the opposing team constantly drill 3-pointers. The Grizzlies made 23 3-pointers on 45 attempts.
STOP THE TURNOVERS!
The Lakers’ next game is on Sunday against the Los Angeles Clippers at 6:30 PM PT.
You can follow Karin on Twitter at @KarinAbcarians.