The return of Anthony Davis to the starting lineup did not get the Los Angeles Lakers out of their bad habit of slow starts. But it did speed up the comeback process and prevented another overtime game.
After missing the last two games, Davis led the Lakers with 35 points and nine rebounds while LeBron James continued his run towards a potential fifth MVP Award with 28 points, nine rebounds and eight assists as the Lakers won their seventh straight game, 115-105 over the Memphis Grizzlies. The win improved the Lakers’ record to 21-6.
The Lakers once again did themselves no favors with their start and it was even worse than the previous contests as they quickly found themselves trailing 22-2 in the first quarter. L.A. spent the ensuing two quarters working to get back into the game, and their two stars led the way.
Davis set the tone on both ends of the floor and as usual it was the Lakers defense that would eventually turn the tide in their favor. They held the Grizzlies to just 46 points in the second half and led by as many as 17 points in the fourth quarter.
After finally pulling ahead late, LeBron seemed intent on putting the nail in the coffin for the Grizzlies and did so with an absolutely massive slam dunk off of a beautiful Marc Gasol assist.
With the starters struggling early, the Lakers’ bench had to give the team a massive boost. Kyle Kuzma finished with a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds, with five of those coming on the offensive glass. Montrezl Harrell added 14 points and seven rebounds.
Alex Caruso scored just two points in his return, but also added six assists and was a team-high +24 on the night. Likewise, Wesley Matthews maintained his spot in the rotation despite the returns of Caruso and Davis and though he only scored three points, his presence defensively was a positive aspect.
The Lakers did a better job of protecting the paint, allowing Memphis just 46 points inside, but where they did their best work was the offensive glass. The Lakers grabbed 13 offensive rebounds overall and had 21 second chance points on the night.
Next up for Lakers
The Lakers travel to Denver for a Valentine’s Day meeting with the Nuggets on Sunday night before heading up to Minnesota to play Karl-Anthony Towns and the Timberwolves.
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