Well, the Lakers fell short in a tale of two halves. The Grizzlies were able to trip up the Lakers in a game that ended in a wacky manner, 103-100.
Memphis was depleted as they were without Zach Randolph, Mike Conley, Chandler Parsons, Vince Carter, and James Ennis. The Lakers, who were playing their fourth game in five nights, were without Nick Young, D’Angelo Russell, and Larry Nance, Jr. Early in the game, Jose Calderon pulled up lame. He left the game with a right hamstring strain.
The pace was frenetic in the first half. The Grizzlies did their best to keep up as Troy Daniels (fourth-year player out of Virginia Commonwealth) had the green light to shoot from the outside. With Julius Randle in foul trouble, Lou Williams and Luol Deng (playing at the 4!) carried the scoring load. While Daniels surprisingly led the Grizzlies with 23 points, Lou was scorching with 28 points in the first half.
The Grizz slowed the game down and the Lakers, with the possible combination of fatigue and the Memphis defense, succumbed to a lot more isolation and one-on-one plays. Memphis was able to bear down and cause turnovers in the halfcourt. Still, Lou and Lu stayed hot in the fourth. Luol Deng played his best game as a Laker with 18 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 steals. Lou Williams went for 40 points on 20 shots.
It was a little back and forth before Troy Daniels made a key three to give Memphis a four-point lead. Marc Gasol would follow it up with a sweeping hook before Williams made a three-point play. After a Grizzlies miss, Lou put up a quick three that missed badly with 20 seconds left on the game clock and 16 on the shot clock. In the ensuing possession, Deng stole the inbounds pass. Randle got fouled on a three-pointer by Gasol with 5.9 seconds left. Julius missed the first two free throws before missing the third on purpose. Still, the Lakers got the offensive board but Jordan Clarkson missed a corner three. Memphis got away with the win.
We can look at this as a schedule loss. They might have ran out of gas; we know how much the Memphis defense can take out of teams in addition to the Lakers playing their fourth game out of five nights. The Lakers only scored 38 points in the second half and only Timofey Mozgov scored double digits (13 points) other than Lou Williams and Deng. We hardly saw the ball movement that Coach Luke Walton preached in the second half. We all know the Grizzlies like the grit and grind. Grounded. Grimy. Gross. Growl. The Lakers turned the ball over 18 times.
You’re probably not familiar with most of the Grizzlies players other than Marc Gasol and Tony Allen. Gasol did a lot of playmaking (19 points, 8 assists). But you gotta watch guys like JaMychal Green (16 points, 13 rebounds), back-up point guard Wade Baldwin IV (7 points, 9 assists), and the aforementioned Daniels (31 total points!). Just because you’re not familiar with them doesn’t mean you should just leave them firing away. There were so many breakdowns defensively by the Lakers in the second half. It could be fatigue or whatever but Memphis is not going to blink an eye and feel sorry for them just because their opponents are tired.
Just remember that the Lakers got beat by this guy:
No disrespect intended, Troy. You played a hell of a game. For tonight, Elvis Presley is not the king of Memphis and neither is Jerry Lawler. It’s Troy Daniels.
It’s back to the Staples Center on Monday after a 1-3 road trip for the 10-12 Lakers. We’ll see if they can get it right against the Utah Jazz.