With three straight losses, the Los Angeles Lakers have come back down to earth after a three-game win streak. They looked to turn things around as they finished off their three-game road trip in Memphis against the Grizzlies.
The Lakers have lost all three times they’ve played Memphis, but all of the losses were by single digits, including a three-point loss the last time these two teams met. The Lakers have continued to get good play from their point guards Jeremy Lin and Jordan Clarkson, but the bigs off the bench, Jordan Hill and Ed Davis have been shining as well.
Point guard Mike Conley is the key to the Grizzlies attack that includes rough big men Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. Their recent addition of Jeff Green has also helped to shore up their small forward position. The Grizzlies came into the game with a 43-17 record while the Lakers were 16-44.
Zach Randolph hit a midrange jumper to get the scoring started for Memphis. Marc Gasol would make a short jumper as the Lakers offense struggled out the gates. Jordan Clarkson hit a jumper in transition to get the Lakers on the board and followed it with a dunk on an assist form Robert Sacre as the Lakers trailed 6-4. Clarkson continued his strong start with a nice finish at the rim but the Lakers still trailed by two thanks to a layup from Mike Conley. Gasol got a three-point play to push Memphis ahead 13-8 midway through the quarter. Conley hit a three, but the Lakers responded with a Jeremy Lin assist to Ed Davis followed by a Clarkson floater as the Lakers trailed 18-12. Randolph dominated down low as Memphis pulled ahead 22-14 with the quarter winding down. A Tony Allen layup ave the Grizzlies a 24-16 lead at the end of the first.
Allen had another layup to start the quarter for the Grizzlies, but the Lakers quickly responded with a three from Wesley Johnson and Davis had a block on one end and layup on the other as the Lakers cut the Grizzlies lead to five. The teams traded free throws and Nick Calathes got an easy layup to push the Grizzlies lead to nine. The Lakers continued fighting and were able to keep the game close with jumpers from Lin and Johnson to get back within five. Clarkson checked back in and hit a tough runner, but Conley came right back at him with a layup of his own. Wayne Ellington got on the board with a layup and Clarkson continued his impressive showing with a dish to Johnson for a three to tie the game. Clarkson gave the Lakers their first lead of the game with a jumper, but Memphis came right back with consecutive layups to regain a three point lead. Tarik Black finally made an appearance after numerous games on the bench and finished a three-point play to tie the game at 39. Allen hit two layups but Clarkson hit a three to increase his total to 17 in the half as the Lakers still trailed by a point. Ellington would hit a jumper and hit Johnson for a fast break layup as the Lakers went up three at the end of the quarter, 46-43.
The Lakers got the first bucket of the second half on a steal from Boozer and dunk for Clarkson. An Ellington three and layup from Boozer on a Clarkson assist gave the Lakers their biggest lead of the night at eight points. Gasol made a beautiful pass to Randolph for a layup and foul as the Grizzlies cut the Lakers lead to five. Clarkson hit a tough runner to give him a career high 23, but Gasol came right back with a jumper to cut the lead to three. Boozer came right back with a layup to keep the Lakers ahead by five. The teams traded baskets as the Lakers maintained a five-point lead until Allen hit Randolph for a layup to get the lead down to three again. Another Randolph basket cut the lead to a point with three minutes left in the quarter. Calathes stole the inbounds pass for a layup , but Ellington came back down and hit a three to put the Lakers back in front by two. Hill was pulled down hard by Randolph who was assessed a Flagrant 1 foul. Hill split the free throws to give the Lakers a two point lead before Randolph tied it on the other end. A jumper from Hill and a hook from Davis gave the Lakers a 71-67 lead at the end of the third.
Jordan Hill got a quick basket to put the Lakers up six at the outset of the quarter and Clarkson followed it up with a layup to put the Lakers up eight. Hill hit his patented jumper to give the Lakers a 10 point lead. Green hit a jumper, but Davis had a block on Randolph and a huge dunk over Kosta Koufos to keep the Lakers ahead double digits. Green hit a jumper to get the Grizzlies back within eight. Free throws from Green cut the lead to six before Johnson had an impressive steal that led to a dunk to keep the Lakers ahead by eight midway through the quarter. A layup from Koufos got the Grizzlies back within six and a Randolph three-point play cut the Lakers lead in half. Free throws from Lin were matched by a fadeaway from Gasol. A putback from Randolph cut the Lakers lead to one but a Hill dunk maintained the Lakers three-point cushion with three minutes remaining. Gasol hit a pair of free throws but Ellington got a jumper to fall as the Lakers continued to hold on to a three-point lead. A layup from Calathes brought the Grizzlies back within one. The Lakers turned the ball over and Green hit two free throws to regain the lead with a minute and a half left. A referee review allowed the Lakers to keep the ball with only 50 seconds remaining and trailing by one. Ellington missed a jumper and Conley split a pair of free throws. Hill missed a jumper and the Grizzlies got the rebound with 26 seconds left. Gasol hit two free throws as Memphis went ahead four with only 23 seconds left. Hill was able to get a quick layup to bring the Lakers back within two. Gasol hit two free throws and Conley would strip Clarkson to pretty much seal the win. Some free throws would make up the final margin as the Lakers dropped their fourth straight, 97-90.
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