Although Lakers fans didn’t quite get the Christmas gift they wanted, there was some good to take away from their 94-84 loss to the Clippers. After being down by more than 20, the Lakers mounted an impressive comeback to at least keep the game interesting.
Meanwhile, D’Angelo Russell had himself a nice game with 16 points on 7-of-13 shooting, and seven rebounds. However, the Lakers will now try to snap their two-game losing streak on the road.
Despite Memphis being known as a strong playoff contender over the years, they have struggled thus far this season at 16-16. They are also trying to snap a two-game skid of their own, with their last loss coming at the hands of the Charlotte Hornets, 98-92.
The Grizzlies got off to a hot start, hitting their first three jump shots to take a quick 6-1 lead. Kobe finally scratched for the Lakers off the assist from Roy Hibbert. After a couple of buckets from Jeff Green to increase the lead to 11-3, both teams began to trade baskets capped by a Larry Nance jumper for his first points of the game. Marc Gasol got it going with back-to-back buckets, before Kobe answered back with his first three-pointer of the game to cut the lead to four. Memphis went on a 6-2 run before Kobe would shoulder the load on offense, scoring 10 of the Lakers’ last 12 points to end the quarter with the Grizzlies up, 32-23. The Black Mamba got off to a tremendous start, finishing the quarter with 14 points.
The Lakers were able to carry that momentum into the second with a 6-2 run, capped by a pair of three’s from Russell and Lou Williams to cut the Memphis lead, 34-31. The Grizzlies got their first bucket of the quarter with a shot from JaMychal Green. Fans got a blast from the past today on a dunk from Vince Carter for his first points. After a thunderous block by Green, Nick Young got the ball back and calmly sunk a three to take the wind out of the Memphis sails, and the score now 37-40 in favor of the Grizzlies. Marc Gasol got his rhythm on offense going with a couple of jumpers to extend the lead 50-40, with four minutes to go. Memphis would go on to dominate the rest of the half, as they went on a 13-6 run to go up, 59-46.
Nance flexed his ability to shoot from outside with a pair of 20-foot jumpers to shorten the Memphis lead 64-50. But Memphis started the second half similar to the first by hitting their first three shots to get their lead back to fifteen. After a vintage flashback from Carter, fans got another from Kobe with a pump-fake to draw the foul along with the and-one on the baseline for his 19 points. However, Gasol continued to display his offensive prowess with his passing ability, as the Grizzlies took an 80-61 lead midway through the third. The young cats for the Lakers started to carry the offense on eight consecutive points by Russell and Nance to cut the lead to 20. But they just couldn’t stop the bleeding on defense as they continuously allowed a Memphis, who’s 29th in the league in points per game, to score. After another Nance jumper for his career-high 17 points, the Lakers ended the quarter down, 74-92.
The fourth started off similar to every other quarter, only this time Memphis hit their first four shots with ease to take a 101-76 lead. Clarkson also had himself an efficient night, hitting a jumper for 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting, with the score now 80-103. Julius Randle once again recorded double digits in rebounds shortly before sinking a three-pointer for his second bucket of the game. The Lakers would clear their bench, bringing in Ryan Kelly, Anthony Brown, Marcelo Huertas, and Robert Sacre to finish the game alongside Randle. A pair of free throws from Brown would provide the final margin as the Lakers fell to Memphis 112-96.