Playing without Lonzo Ball (sprained left knee) and Brandon Ingram (sprained left ankle), the Los Angeles Lakers struggled on both ends of the court in a 123-114 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, snapping a season-best four-game wining streak. The final score hardly reflected the flow or feeling throughout the game.
The Grizzlies debuted their Nike City Edition uniforms, which paid homage to the life and accomplishments of Martin Luther King Jr. Former Lakers James Worthy and Sam Perkins were among those to receive the National Civil Rights Museum Sports Legacy Award prior to tip-off.
Following the pregame ceremony, the Grizzlies quickly took a lead as they found little resistance from the Lakers — a common theme. Memphis led by as many as 14 points late in the second quarter, which the Lakers trimmed to 10 at halftime.
L.A. came out of the locker room with energy and a renewed focus on defense, sparking a 6-0 run. However, the Grizzlies had an answer to that, and any threat that followed.
A 13-0 stretch by Memphis put the Lakers in a deficit from which they never recovered. The Grizzlies led by 20 points on multiple occasions late in the third quarter and into the fourth.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope did his part to help offset the absences of Ball and Ingram, scoring a game-high 27 points to go along with seven rebounds, three assists and two steals. Caldwell-Pope was 6-for-10 from 3-point territory.
He and Josh Hart (16 points) were the only Lakers starters to score in double-figures. Hart was particularly effective in the fourth quarter, when he had 10 points. Kyle Kuzma had 16 points off the bench, with Larry Nance Jr. also reaching double-figures with 15 points, adding 11 rebounds.
Just signed to a two-way contract, Gary Payton II made his Lakers debut in the fourth quarter. He finished with four points and four assists in 12 minutes of action.
Devin Brooks led a balanced Memphis attack with 19 points, followed by 17 from Marc Gasol. Four Grizzlies bench players had at least 10 points, led by James Ennis III and Wayne Selden who each had 13 points.
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