With a roster that was further depleted because Isaiah Thomas is suffering from a sore hip, the Los Angeles Lakers put forth a valiant effort to defeat the Memphis Grizzlies, 100-93.
With it, the Lakers snapped their losing streak at four games and an overall seven-game skid at FedEx Forum. Prior to Saturday, their last win in Memphis came in 2013. It was accomplished despite being forced to an eight-man rotation and sluggish start to the game.
Brook Lopez began the night with the first basket of the night, only for the Grizzlies to respond with a 12-1 run. The Lakers started just 3-for-13 from the field and fell behind in the first half by as many as 17 points.
Tyler Ennis and Travis Wear provided a spark late in the first quarter and into the second, and Julius Randle began to find the bottom of the net after missing his first five shots.
That amounted to just a five-point deficit at halftime, and it was erased early in the third behind a spurt by Lonzo Ball. But after pulling even with the Grizzlies, the Lakers allowed them to go on a 9-0 run.
Memphis was unable to build on that, however, as they cooled off and went into the fourth quarter locked in a tie game. Kyle Kuzma’s 3-pointer gave the Lakers a lead, their first since 2-0, with just over eight minutes remaining in the game.
It also marked the start of seven consecutive points Kuzma scored, extending the Lakers’ lead to 84-79 in the process. The teams traded baskets down the stretch, and with 45 seconds remaining, Kuzma drilled a 3-pointer that appeared to put the game out of reach.
But Dillon Brooks answered with 3-pointer of his own and Lonzo Ball missed both free throws after his was intentionally fouled. Memphis failed to convert on their next possession, and Julius Randle converted two free throws that all but iced the game.
Kuzma finished with a game-high 25 points to go along with 10 rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block. With 20 points and 11 rebounds, Randle produced his eighth double-double in the last nine games. Ball just missed a triple-double, with 12 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists. Meanwhile, Lopez (eight points) had his string of scoring in double-figures snapped at 13 games.
The Grizzlies were led by 20 points from Andrew Harrison, and all five starters scored at least 10 points.