The Los Angeles Lakers again were without Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and dealt with sloppy stretches for a second consecutive game but rallied and completed an undefeated road trip with a 94-92 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.
Anthony Davis got off to a strong start, finishing in the lane and throwing a perfect lob to Kyle Kuzma to give the Lakers an early 8-3 lead. Defensively, L.A. was able to limit the Grizzlies to shots along the perimeter, while LeBron James regularly got into the paint for easy scores of his own.
Despite the strong start, turnovers began to pile up for the Lakers and led to an 11-2 Memphis run that gave them their first lead of the night. Gorgui Dieng made all four of his field goals off the bench and the Lakers trailed 24-19 after one quarter.
Wesley Matthews and Marc Gasol helped jumpstart the offense by hitting the team’s first two 3s of the night, but Jonas Valanciunas kept the Grizzlies ahead. With James on the bench, the offense stagnated which resulted in a 14-5 Grizzlies run that extended their lead to eight.
Davis came in and put up five quick points, but Kyle Anderson was able to answer with a run of his own to keep the Lakers at bay. Montrezl Harrell and Davis helped key a late surge, but the purple and gold’s 10 turnovers in the first half left them looking at a 49-45 deficit.
James kickstarted the scoring in the third with a baseline turnaround and later gave the Lakers a two-point lead off a fading midrange shot. James continued to carry the offense, cutting toward the basket for easy lay ups.
Despite a couple turnovers of their own, the Memphis bench managed to cut into the deficit because Los Angeles began to settle for poor shots. Schroder missed a three at the buzzer, so the Lakers went into the fourth down 68-67.
The two teams kept each other in check at the top of the fourth, playing hard-nosed defense and forcing the other into tough shots. Much like the last game, James looked to assert himself but had more trouble this time around with the Grizzlies packing the paint.
Sloppy play from both sides kept it close, but a Davis corner three and a couple of James jumpers gave L.A. a slight edge. Davis appeared to ice the game with a dunk off a nice bounce pass from James, but the Grizzlies scored right after.
James’ fadeaway then looked to be the dagger but more turnovers kept the door open for Memphis until the final few seconds.
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