The Los Angeles Lakers have a chance to avenge their recent loss to the Memphis Grizzlies tonight at Staples Center, after they loss to them convincingly on Wednesday night. The Grizzlies started out hot and never looked back, leading by 28 points at one juncture in the game.
Wednesday was Kobe Bryant’s last trip to Memphis and he will sit out of tonight’s action with a sore right shoulder. His absence will allow the young guys to shine in the bright lights of Los Angeles; Anthony Brown will start in his place. The Lakers will look to have a stronger start tonight against the Grizzlies and will have to play much better defense if they want a chance to end their seven-game losing streak.
D’Angelo Russell found his backcourt counterpart, Jordan Clarkson, with a nice dime and Clarkson finished with the bucket to give the Lakers the early lead. The Grizzlies responded with six points in about 30 seconds and the Lakers trailed 2-6 early in the game. Russell started the game strong with six of the Lakers’ first 10 points, and the Lakers trailed by two midway through the first quarter. Julius Randle and Zach Randolph started playing physically with each other in the paint, but neither of them could score on one another. Both teams scored at will in the paint and the Lakers trailed 16-22 with 3:09 remaining in the first quarter. Clarkson picked up his production after a slow start, scoring six points, but the Lakers trailed the Grizzlies 25-32 after one.
Vince Carter opened up the second quarter with his second three-pointer of the game to extend the Grizzlies’ lead to 10 points. The Lakers continued to allow the Grizzlies to score at will in the point and in transition, as they trailed by 12 points with 9:09 left in the half. Carter nailed back-to-back three-pointers, giving him five on the night and the Lakers trailed by 16 points midway through the second quarter. Even though the Lakers were down big, Julius Randle handled business in the paint, scoring eight points with five rebounds with three minutes left in the half. Russell ran the break to perfection with a bounce pass to Randle for a dunk, and then he drained a three-pointer on the Lakers last possession of the half. Despite strong play from Russell, Randle, and Clarkson, the Lakers trailed the Grizzlies 50-67 at halftime.
The Grizzlies came out of the locker room red hot, scoring eight unanswered points and extending their lead to 25 points within the first two minutes of the third quarter. Randle finally stopped the bleeding after Clarkson slung a pass to him for the dunk, but the Lakers were still down big. Everything seemed to unravel for the Lakers in the third quarter, as they missed wide open layups and conceded wide open threes to the Grizzlies. Clarkson could not buy a bucket from beyond the arc and the Lakers trailed by 26 points midway through the quarter. D’Angelo Russell scored his 17th point of the game at the free throw line to go along with his three assists, but the Lakers still trailed by 25 with three minutes left in the third quarter. Russell finished the third quarter with 22 points, but the Lakers trailed the Grizzlies 71-90 after three.
The Grizzlies started the fourth quarter with an 10-4 run after Chris “Birdman” Anderson spiked Jordan Clarkson’s shot out of the air, and the boos started to rain down from the rafters of Staples Center. Clarkson’s struggle from the field continued in the fourth quarter, but he finally got a floater to drop to make him 4-16 from the field in the game. Marcelo Huertas entered the game with 6:55 to play, indicating that D’Angelo Russell is done for the evening, as the Lakers trailed by 25 points. With three minutes to play, Anthony Brown made an aggressive move to the basket and finished with the left-handed layup, plus the foul. The Lakers had another disappointing performance against the Grizzlies and will be back in action on Tuesday when the Brooklyn Nets come into town.
Final Score: Lakers 95 Grizzlies 112