The Los Angeles Lakers remained without Alex Caruso and also didn’t have Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, but their bench and LeBron James led the way in a 108-94 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Lakers got off to a quick start thanks to James, who scored the team’s first five points and assisted a pair of Kyle Kuzma threes to give them an early 11-2 lead. In his first return to Memphis as an opponent, Marc Gasol was also more involved offensively as he hit a couple of shots in the lane.
Anthony Davis was surprisingly ineffective as he missed all four of his jumpers, and the Grizzlies took advantage with a massive 17-0 run that completely changed the momentum of the game. Los Angeles fell asleep too often defensively and as a result went into the second quarter down 36-25.
Talen Horton-Tucker was a spark to begin the second as he scored a quick five points and forced a turnover to bring the team within single digits. Montrezl Harrell was also active, working hard under the rim to score a few baskets.
Davis looked to get more involved by forcing his way into the paint for free throws, while defensively they managed to finally slow down Memphis to tie up the game at 47. James came back in the final minutes to resettle the team, and the Lakers managed to go into the half up 56-54.
Los Angeles was slow coming out of the gate, missing their first seven attempts that allowed Memphis to retake the lead. The Lakers failed to capitalize on some nice passes from Gasol, while the Grizzlies were able to waltz in for layups on the other end.
Dennis Schroder and Harrell kept the purple and gold slightly ahead by making plays on both sides of the floor, but Kyle Anderson was able to keep the Grizzlies close. However, Harrell closed the quarter strong and put the Lakers up 77-75 after three.
James set the tone for the Lakers to begin the fourth as he barreled his way through the Memphis defense for lay ups and free throws. James’s jumper was also working as he nailed a logo three and a stepback midrange shot, while Wesley Matthews drained his fourth 3-pointer of the night to extend the L.A. lead.
A 3 from James added to the Lakers’ late run and effectively ended the game.
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