The NBA’s inaugural In-Season Tournament continues to intrigue as the schedule progresses to the eventual knockout style championship in Las Vegas.
The Los Angeles Lakers also continued their strong start to group play with a dominant victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night. After getting back on track with a pair of regular season wins, the Lakers made easy work of the Grizzlies, winning 134-107 for their third straight victory and to secure a 2-0 In-Season Tournament group play record.
Anthony Davis was the superstar of the night, mainly on the defensive end. His six blocks and 11 boards — to go along with 19 points and five assists — silenced the Grizzlies all night. He was a plus-21 on the night, only behind the Lakers’ leading scorer in D’Angelo Russell, who was a plus-25 with 24 points.
The result was never in doubt, leading the Lakers to not have to play anyone above 29 minutes. The Lakers shot 58% from the field and broke through their three-point woes with a red-hot 22-of-35 from beyond the arc.
With the win, the Lakers took control of the No. 1 seed in Group A, but remain in a deadlock with the Utah Jazz. The Jazz moved to 2-0 with a convincing win over the Portland Trail Blazers, 115-99, behind 30 points from former Laker Jordan Clarkson. Lauri Markkanen added 21 points of his own in the win that dropped the Trail Blazers to 1-1 in group play.
Memphis is the only team in Group A to have played three games, suffering three losses with an average margin of defeat of 11.6 over those games. That has essentially eliminated them from making the knockout rounds.
The next Group A slate takes place on Friday, when the Jazz take on the Phoenix Suns and the Lakers get a rematch against a Trail Blazers team that they beat in regular season play on Sunday.
The Lakers can all but clinch a spot in the top eight in Las Vegas with a win against the Trail Blazers, especially if the Suns can defeat the Jazz.
If both the Jazz and Lakers win though then that would set up a huge matchup between the two undefeated Group A teams on Tuesday, Nov. 21 with the winner advancing. The Lakers are in good shape even if they lose one game though as long as they can continue to maintain their strong point differential thanks to their blowout win over the Grizzlies.
Group A Standings
1. Los Angeles Lakers: 2-0, +30 point differential
2. Utah Jazz: 2-0, +22 point differential
3. Portland Trail Blazers: 1-1, -14 point differential
4. Phoenix Suns: 0-1, -3 point differential
5. Memphis Grizzlies: 0-3, -35 point differential
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