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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.

So this is one game you want to throw in the trash. The Raptors worked the Lakers, 113-80. The 80 points are a season-low for this young team.

All you needed to do was watch the first half. The Lakers were down, 15-4, at one point. They did cut it down to six by the end of the first but the Raptors shot the lights out in the next 12 minutes. Canada started out 16 for 19 in the second quarter, which I’m sure got Celine Dion singing. The Lakers never got it going on the offensive end and they got killed on the other side of the ball. Toronto took advantage of the Lakers hedging too far and had some ball movement that got L.A. chasing pretty much all night.

Even when Toronto came back to earth in their shooting, the Lakers couldn’t take advantage. L.A.’s turnovers certainly didn’t help; they had five in the third (16 overall). It resulted in an ugly third quarter which saw the Raptors barely win it, 15-14. That’s good for the Lakers in a close game but not so great when they were down 21 in the first half. The Raptors were back to burning the rim in the fourth and the Lakers never had a chance. T Dot never trailed in this contest.

While DeMar DeRozan (16 points) and Kyle Lowry (24 points) did their usual damage, Lucas Nogueira (13 points), Cory Joseph (14 points), and Norman Powell (16 points, and he replaced a resting DeMarre Carroll in the starting line-up) all took advantage of the Lakers’ porous defense. The Raptors shot over 54 percent. As for the Lakers? They can’t shoot under 35 percent, play poor defense, and expect to win. It doesn’t work like that. Also, hope that Larry Nance, Jr. is okay as he bumped knees late in the game.

The Lakers continue to get off to poor starts. In 21 games this season, they’ve only won the first quarter five times. Coming into the Raptors game, the Lakers were 27th in scoring (24.5 points per) and 26th in offensive rating (96.0 points per 100 possessions) in the first quarter. And we all know the team usually finishes strong. Maybe they need to make some tweaks in the starting line-up and put in some more scoring with Nick Young and D’Angelo Russell out. Brandon Ingram led the team in scoring with a career-best 17 points.

All you can do is move on to the next game. But at least, for the Lakers, it’s almost immediate as they travel to Memphis for a game tomorrow night. The Lakers are 1-2 in this current road trip and 10-11 overall. I guess it could be worse, right?

The Lakers got punched in the face by the New Orleans Pelicans last night. Not only that but they also lost Nick Young (for 2-4 weeks so it’s not as bad as we thought it was going to be). They already didn’t have D’Angelo Russell. But somehow, the Lakers pulled this one out against Chicago in a second game of a back-to-back, 96-90.

But this game was so ugly. I watch a lot of NBA games and this might be the ugliest one I’ve seen all season. In the first quarter, it felt like the Lakers were playing basketball underwater. They kept turning the ball over and this would go on all game. They were once down, 28-14. It looked like it was going to be a rout.

The Lakers bench came through as always, though, as Jordan Clarkson, Brandon Ingram, Lou Williams, and Larry Nance, Jr. made plays on both ends. While it was frustrating that the Lakers couldn’t get over the hump in the second quarter, the fight that they showed was admirable (once again) as they looked dead in the water a bit earlier.

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For the third time this season, the Lakers and the Warriors played against each other. Unfortunately, this contest was way more like their meeting two days ago than the one early this month as the Warriors clobbered the Lakers, 109-85.

The Lakers were missing players once again. We know D’Angelo Russell was out but so were Julius Randle (hip) and Nick Young (toe). Even though the Warriors went on a 13-0 run early in the first half, the Lakers withstood that storm as Jordan Clarkson led a run that cut the deficit to three. But the Dubs ended the first half with a 9-2 run to take a double digit lead. It was actually a near-miracle that the Warriors only led by 10 after two quarters because the Lakers turned the ball over 12 times (they would end with 18 giveaways) and shot only 36 percent at the time. The Dubs did play pretty sloppily as well but with the discrepancy of talent between the two teams, they can overcome their mistakes.

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To keep up with the Western Conference champions, the Lakers needed to bring their A+ game. And without D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle, it was going to be a monumental task. Yeah, they had beaten the Warriors before but a lot went right for the Lakers in their first encounter against them at Staples Center. The Lakers upset the Dubs in a 20-point blowout.

This one was decidedly different; Darius noted being defeatist in his preview earlier. Quite frankly, I didn’t blame him. Any adjustments that Luke Walton made didn’t seem to matter (Brandon Ingram replaced Julius in the starting line-up). The Warriors went on a barrage early after the Lakers opened with two Jose Calderon jumpers. While the Lakers survived the first wave, they couldn’t withstand the storm the rest of the night. The Dubs scored 80 points in the first half and the game ended in a romp, 149-106. The Lakers did this to the Warriors on their tail end of a back-to-back and the Warriors did it to the Lakers today on L.A.’s tail end of a back-to-back. So, really, we know who to blame here: the team that they each played in their first of a back-to-back, the Oklahoma City Thunder (I kid, of course).

Once the Warriors piled on, it threw the Lakers off their game. There were some rushed shots instead of the ball movement Coach Walton has preached. The Lakers were overwhelmed by the frenetic Warriors play. Granted, the Lakers didn’t seem to play much different defense from their first meet-up. They died a lot on those Warriors picks that got the shooters open; it’s like they all exploded upon contact. The difference here is that Golden State caught straight fire with their threes as opposed to throwing bricks through windows at Staples. This is one of the things the Lakers have to fix defensively as they seem to make a habit of giving up on chasing shooters this season.

For all intents and purposes, they didn’t do so bad offensively. But remember that the Warriors are on another stratosphere in terms of offense (they shot 62 percent!). Again, teams have to bring their absolute best when going against the Four Horsemen of the Oracle. Stephen Curry is the two-time MVP. Kevin Durant was the MVP before that. Klay Thompson is the most prolific three-point shooter outside of his own backcourt partner and Draymond Green will rebound, pass, swat, scratch, claw, chop, and kick through everything. The Warriors may not have the depth of the last couple of years but trying to stop four all-stars in the same line-up is like trying to stop the Gilmore Girls from drinking coffee; it’s super tough to do that.

For some positives, Brandon Ingram scored a career-high (16 points) in this game. Lou Williams (along with Jordan Clarkson and Ingram) led the team in scoring as he continues to play the best ball of his career. And they didn’t do so bad from three (8/20, .400). Of course, the Warriors obliterated them in that department (19/36, .528); Stephen Curry (31 points) wasn’t going to miss all his three-pointers again (he went 7/12). Kevin Durant went for 28 points, Klay Thompson scored 26, and Draymond Green had 9 rebounds and 11 assists. And the ball movement Walton emphasizes each and every game? Well, his former team was sublime in their passing. The Warriors had an incredible 47 assists. So yes, this was a crushing defeat but it also shows the Lakers where they are in the current NBA food chain. They’ll pick themselves up, learn from it, shake it off, and move on.

And you wanna know the great news for the Lakers? They get to do this again with the Warriors on Friday! This time, they’ll be at Staples so maybe the bizarro will happen again. The Lakers do hold a two-game winning streak against the Dubs in SoCal!

Even with this loss, I’m thankful that the Lakers are actually .500 by this time; I don’t think anyone expected that. I am thankful for all of you readers and all the writers, especially Darius (and Kurt Helin!), of this site. Happy Thanksgiving, everybody. And don’t drink too many certain beverages because of this loss.

So it was really cool to see Tim Duncan and David Robinson duel it out with Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant… wait a minute. Let me start over.

The Lakers fell short against the Spurs, 116-107. But it’s not like the Lakers laid down against the very strong San Antonio Spurs. Even when the Spurs shot lights out, the Lakers once again showed their fighting spirit. And every team that has gone against them has to be frustrated that this young team just won’t go away.

The team didn’t exactly get off to a sparkling start; they fell behind, 9-0, and wouldn’t score their first basket until about four minutes into the game. They seemed out of sorts with D’Angelo Russell not playing (a late scratch with a sore knee). Jose Calderon started to not upset Luke Walton’s regular rotations and he played 13 minutes and scored five points. San Antonio led by as many as 13 points in the first half before Lou Williams, Luol Deng, and Nick Young provided the offense the Lakers needed. While the Spurs were making nearly everything, the young Lakers forced some turnovers (Spurs had 9 of their 12 turnovers in the first half) to make up for it. They would eventually tie the game at 52 after two quarters.

But the Spurs couldn’t stop missing. San Antonio made 11 straight field goals and went on a 12-0 surge. They would lead the Lakers by 17 early in the fourth. L.A. wouldn’t die, though, as they cut the lead down to 5 with seven minutes left.

LaMarcus Aldridge (23 points) would land haymakers on the Lakers as he made three straight buckets. A Kawhi Leonard (23-12-7) three would boost the lead to 11. But back-to-back threes by Nick Young and Jordan Clarkson quickly cut the deficit to five (a Julius Randle foul shot would cut it to four). San Antonio would have the last laugh, though, as Tony Parker (who went old-school with 16 points and 7 assists) made a clutch jumper to boost the lead from four to six. That’s some TP for your bunghole.

It’s encouraging for the Lakers to play like this, even in a loss. The Spurs shot 56 percent (Lakers were under 45 percent) from the field and dissected the Lakers defense with their trademark passing; they had 30 dimes in the game. But the Lakers fought back every single time (until time ran out), seemingly getting every loose ball and making a counterpunch when they were in the corner. The Lakers outboarded the Spurs, 45-34, and pummeled them on the offensive boards, 15-3. Lakers also won the battle in paint scoring, 36-28, since the Spurs don’t have great interior defense anymore. But the Spurs just overwhelmed them with their smarts and experience.

I can’t say enough on how good Lou Williams and Nick Young have been this season. Williams wasn’t all that great defensively but his quick and efficient scoring (24 points) made up for it. Young made some big shots and had 22 points. Clarkson had a big second half and had 20 points overall. Luol Deng played his best ball as a Laker in the first half (10 points then but nothing after). Julius Randle put in a quiet 13-9-7 line.

It’s the same ol’ slow start for the Lakers but also the same ol’ strong finish. A lot had to go right for the Lakers to beat the Spurs and they nearly did it. Can’t say enough about their fighting spirit.

Let’s see if that fight carries over for the 7-6 Lakers in their next game against the hot Chicago Bulls on Sunday at Staples.

Guys, I am recapping a game where the Lakers nearly won by 30 points this season. It’s weird. But also cool. The Lakers smashed the Pelicans, 126-99.

And yeah, they did have a little bit of luck on this. I will be the first to tell you that injuries are awful. Anthony Davis basically did whatever he wanted against L.A. on the offensive end. And then he hurt his back in the third quarter when the Lakers were barely up, 63-62. The Lakers did what they had to do; they took advantage and rolled for 14 straight points. The Pelicans looked lost when they lost the Brow. Davis would eventually come back but he wasn’t fully mobile and the Lakers kept their foot on the gas pedal.

The Lakers ball movement was exquisite the entire night; the Pelicans couldn’t catch up to the basketball. They also took care of the ball, too, as they only had 10 turnovers. They made the right decisions in terms of when to attack the basket, when to shoot, and when to make the extra pass or two. All in all, the Lakers went for 36 assists (tied a season high in the NBA this season). And not only did they keep the ball moving but they converted their open shots. 55.3 percent shooting overall for L.A. and 53.3 percent (16 for 30) from behind the arc.

Lou Williams and Nick Young (15 points) had a surge in the second quarter that put them up eight. That’s another thing I never thought I would say this season, either. Brandon Ingram had nine points in the second quarter. He would eventually leave the game with a sprained ankle but, by all accounts, he should be fine for tomorrow’s game. Julius Randle nearly had a triple-double (8-11-8). Jordan Clarkson, Lou, and D’Angelo Russell all had over 20 points. And the frontcourt of Tarik Black, Timofey Mozgov, Larry Nance, and Thomas Robinson all had good moments in the game. We’re still waiting for Luol Deng to break out with a really good game; let’s hope it’s sooner than later. Still, I love that there’s little to no dropoff when the Lakers go to the bench; the non-starters scored 73 points tonight!

The Lakers have now won five of six games and they head to Minnesota as they play the Timberwolves tomorrow (who are currently playing the Clippers right now). It should be a fun game between two young and exciting teams. Get your popcorn or pizza rolls ready.

It’s early but it’s been a crazy season thus far for the Lakers. And when I say crazy, I mean it in a very good way. 6-4. Who would’ve thought?

FIGHTING SPIRIT. They just keep doing it.

After a letdown against the Mavericks at home, the Lakers have won four of their last five games as they made an impressive comeback against the Kings in Sacramento, 101-91. The thing is… it really looked bleak early on.

The Lakers looked like they would either watch paint dry or watch leaves fall from a tree. They looked lethargic, fatigued, and a step slower in the first half. The young guns had 12 turnovers. Sactown took advantage; nobody seemed to be able to stop DeMarcus Cousins. He scored 18 of his 28 points in the first half. The Lakers were down as many as 19 points before they had a late surge to close out the half.

D’Angelo Russell, who looked indecisive in the first 24 minutes, caught a bit of fire as he scored eight of his 17 points in the first six minutes of the third. The Lakers did a much better job guarding Boogie as Timofey Mozgov got more physical and they did timely double-teams. In about a nine-minute stretch between the third and the fourth, the Kings only scored two points. Boogie finally did come alive in the fourth quarter but by that time, it was too late. After a deadlock at 82, the Lakers broke away with a 10-0 run that was led by Lou Williams and Nick Young. Sweet Lou scored 13 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter and continues to be that incredible veteran presence. And the resurrection of Nick Young continues. He continues to put a lot of effort on the defensive end. Swaggy P scored the last five points of that aforementioned 10-0 run that pretty much put the game out of reach. He scored 12 of his 16 points in the second half.

I know Luke Walton is still figuring out his rotations as the season goes on. It definitely helped that Larry Nance, Jr. came back for this game after he passed the concussion protocol (who, by the way, did his role as the energy guy off the bench with seven boards). But I like that Luke stayed with the hot guys. The line-up that the Lakers had during the closing stretch was Mozgov, Brandon Ingram (his length bothered the Kings on the boards and on defense), Julius Randle (he still continues to attack; he had 15 and 8), Lou Will, and Nick. I know most coaches would go back to his regular starters but I thought it was a great decision for Walton to stick with the line-up that got them the lead. And it was so encouraging to see all the other guys cheer for the team. Guys, they are so so much fun.

The Lakers did end with 21 turnovers; that is an extremely high number. And I would like it if they could get off to better starts in the game. But I like that the Lakers never stop playing; they have been in every game by the fourth quarter this season. The fight never stops with them and it is so much appreciated by the coaching staff and the fans.

They will face the New Orleans Pelicans next in Louisiana. Those birds just got their first win earlier today so they’re going to be hungry to extend that marvelous one-game winning streak.

The baby Lakers are 5-4. Over .500 after nine games. Quite a pleasant surprise.