LeBron James made NBA history and Brandon Ingram turned in another stellar performance, but the end result was the Los Angeles Lakers falling further behind in the Western Conference playoff hunt with a 110-105 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.
Scoring wasn’t an issue for the Lakers, as Ingram’s efficiency helped lead them early. However, they again were let down by their defense and found themselves trailing by three points despite scoring 31 in the first quarter.
Matters got worse for the Lakers in the second, with Chandler Parsons and Joakim Noah helping Memphis extend their lead. After it grew to a game-high seven points, the Lakers responded with a spurt of their own to get within a basket.
But that proved futile as they struggled to rebound. At one stage late in the second quarter, the Lakers had allowed eight offensive rebounds without pulling down one themselves, and faced an 11-0 deficit in second-chance points.
That inability to clean up their glass and a scoring drought led to the Grizzlies extending their lead to as many as 11 points before halftime.
The Lakers did close the first half on a 6-0 run and continued to keep pressure on the Grizzlies in the third. They pulled even at 77, only to fall right back into a deficit and trail by six points entering the fourth quarter.
Ingram was on the bench to start the fourth and made a 3-pointer less than two minutes after checking in with 8:43 remaining in the game. That got the Lakers within two points but they never drew any closer.
A furious attempt at a comeback in the final minutes got them back to within two points, thanks to Kyle Kuzma’s clutch 3-pointer and a driving layup from James. He failed to convert the three-point opportunity. Mike Conley drew a foul on the ensuing possession and sunk both free throws.
A missed eight-second violation on the Grizzlies hurt the Lakers, but no more so than their multiple lapses throughout the game.
Ingram finished with a game-high 32 points. It was a second 30-point game this season and third of Ingram’s career.
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