Between the Memphis Grizzlies (8 wins in a row before Sunday) and the Los Angeles Lakers (4 wins in a row), an ongoing series would end on Sunday. Finally it was LeBron James and his teammates that ended, at home, without much to complain about. Although the final lead (8 points, 127-119) is narrow, the Grizzlies dominated most of the game. They even counted up to 29 points ahead (104-75, 35th) and saw the Lakers return to less than fifteen points less than two minutes from the final siren.
This success allows the Grizzlies to set a new record for consecutive wins (9) in the history of the (young) franchise, created in 1995 (in Vancouver before moving to Tennessee six years later). Although he scored “only” 16 points, Ja Morant made his mark on the game with his flying. The first came in the first quarter when, after losing the ball himself, he came out of nowhere to counterattack Avery Bradley, with both hands against the center of the area. Then in the third, he again admired his relaxation at the end of an alley-oop served by Desmond Bane (otherwise the Grizzlies’ leading scorer with 23 points). Note that Killian Tillie spent only a few seconds on the Crypto.com Arena floor.
Lakers in trouble except for LeBron James
For the Lakers, it’s a new setback. The 17-title franchise is struggling to exceed 50% wins (21 wins-20 losses thus far) and out of the underbelly of the Western Conference. LeBron James struggled once again with 35 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists but no other starters surpassed 7 points with disastrous shooting performances from Russell Westbrook (6 points to 2 of 12), Bradley (7 points to 2 of 10) and Malik Monk (7 points to 3 of 13). “These missed shots affected our focus on defense. Every time we didn’t score, then we didn’t do what we were supposed to do on defense and that allowed them to build a huge gap, ”lamented Frank Vogel, the Lakers coach.
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