The Los Angeles Lakers continued their strong start to their first road trip of the 2020-21 season, defeating the Memphis Grizzlies 108-94.
The Lakers have typically started out slow each game so far, and that was the case against the Grizzlies as they allowed a 17-0 run and found themselves down double digits after the first quarter.
However, they quickly turned things up defensively, holding Memphis to only 58 points the rest of the night. LeBron James led the way for Los Angeles, recording a near triple double (22 points, 13 rebounds, 8 assists) while Montrezl Harrell bounced back with 16 points and nine rebounds off the bench.
However, the story of the night was Marc Gasol’s first game back in Memphis after being traded to the Toronto Raptors during the 2018-2019 season.
After a timeout in the first quarter, the Grizzlies put up a touching video tribute honoring Gasol.
— Memphis Grizzlies (@memgrizz) January 3, 2021
Gasol has strong ties to the city of Memphis as he moved there while his brother Pau Gasol played for the franchise. The Gasol brothers were famously traded for each other, with Pau helping lead the Lakers to two titles while Marc rejuvenated the Grizzlies.
Prior to the game, head coach Frank Vogel acknowledged Marc’s return to Memphis crossed his mind. “I have thought about it,” Vogel said. “Obviously he spent pretty much his whole career here before moving on to Toronto. I’m sure this is a special place for him.
“It will be a little unusual being back here without fans, so I don’t think it’s going to be one of those deals where he gets a big welcome. Although, I think we’re having some fans here tonight.
“There will be minimal fans here, so I’m sure there will be a warm welcome by the people that are here. Hopefully it’s a great game for him.”
Gasol settling in with Lakers
After his disappointing debut on Opening Night, Gasol has appeared much more comfortable the last week. Vogel admitted he needed to find ways to get the big man more involved and has done so by allowing him to facilitate more actions at the top of the key.
As a result, players have been cutting harder to the basket which has boosted the offense. Defensively, Gasol looks comfortable executing Vogel’s drop coverage scheme while also holding up well along the perimeter.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!