Brandon Ingram returned after missing the past two games due to quad injuries, but his spark wasn’t enough for the Los Angeles Lakers, who fell to the Memphis Grizzlies, 109-99, despite a comeback attempt late in the fourth quarter. The loss was their fourth in a row.
Ingram scored a team-high 23 points, flashing the same aggression that’s made him so effective this season. If there was a downside for Ingram, he was only 5-for-11 from the free throw line. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope knocked down each of his seven attempts at the charity stripe, but the Lakers as a whole shot 21-of-33.
While it was the Grizzlies who were on the second night of a back-to-back, the Lakers struggled out of the gate and down the stretch of the fourth quarter. They made just one of their first 10 shots and fell into an early eight-point deficit.
A timeout helped them reset, and the Lakers responded with a 9-2 run to cut into the Grizzlies’ lead. But as they proceeded to do for much of the night, Memphis answered with their own stretch of baskets.
The Lakers trailed by as many as 10 points and didn’t take their first lead until deep into the second quarter. That was short-lived, however, as the Grizzlies closed the half on a 10-2 run. If not for a Kuzma outlet pass to a streaking Ingram on a made free throw, L.A. would’ve closed the second quarter in a scoreless drought.
Lakers head coach Luke Walton recently spoke of wanting to reduce the amount of minutes Lonzo Ball, Ingram and Kuzma are averaging, though he didn’t believe any of the three were showing signs of fatigue.
That may have changed for Kuzma, as he entered Wednesday having played a minimum of 40 minutes in four of the past five games. He scored just nine points on 4-of-24 shooting, including 1-for-11 from deep, and was short on nearly each of his misses.
Beyond his poor shooting, Kuzma was also kneed in the quad during the fourth quarter, prompting him to ride a stationery bike when he was subbed out. Kuzma later returned but walked with a noticeable limp and struggled to run for the remainder of the game.
Larry Nance Jr. received many of the minutes that had been going to Julius Randle at the backup center position, and he contributed with 12 points and nine rebounds.
The Grizzlies were led by a game-high 32 points Tyreke Evans, while four others scored in double-figures. Included in that was Deyonta Davis, who had 14 points off the bench on an efficient 5-of-6 shooting.
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