It was a battle between the fastest (Lakers) and slowest (Memphis) teams in the league. And slow but steady won as the bears beat the Lakers, 109-99.
First of all, Brandon Ingram returned to the starting line-up after missing two games with quad injuries. The starters for the game were Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Jordan Clarkson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Andrew Bogut.
The Lakers’ offense was brutal early. In the first six minutes, the Lakers only scored four points as they clanked nearly everything. Julius Randle was inserted and he immediately paid dividends for the team as he got them out of their scoring slump. Still, I’d probably recommend you to watch a Saved By The Bell rerun than watch this quarter. It was 24-18, Grizzlies, after one.
The second quarter didn’t start much better. Memphis went up by 10 at one point. Then you forget that this isn’t the Grizzlies of five years ago. The Grizz became extremely sloppy as the Lakers were able to overtake them. The offense then woke up in the last few minutes for both teams as they started playing faster. However, Memphis ended with a 10-2 flourish. The halftime score ended up being 54-47, Grizzlies. They couldn’t stop Tyreke Evans, who scored 19 points in the half.
The third looked a lot better for the Lakers. While they continued to get beat by quick cuts by Memphis, the Lakers shot a lot better even though Kyle Kuzma continued to struggle. Brandon Ingram seemed to get to the rim whenever he wanted. A few defensive and transition plays also got them some points. Memphis hung around and both teams ended with 76 after the third.
The fourth started badly for the Lakers. Memphis was able to beat them with one-on-one play and built the lead back to double digits. The Lakers couldn’t get stops; they would play very good team defense only for them to make one big mistake that would allow the Grizz to make an open jumper. Even though there was that play Mario Chalmers should’ve gotten called for out of bounds, the Lakers’ play wasn’t nearly good enough to beat Memphis. Lakers tried for one more rush but Evans was able to draw fouls from the Lakers. That ended their attempted comeback and the game.
The Lakers didn’t play well on both sides. Too many cuts, open jumpers, and good one-on-one plays by the Grizzlies. On the offense, they were sloppy (bad passes and quick shots) and just didn’t shoot the ball well in general (they were in the low 30s for the first half; they ended up with 37 percent). What’s more, Luke Walton continued to mess around with the rotation. Julius Randle only played 11 minutes. You kind of wonder about that since Randle played well early on. Same thing with Larry Nance, Jr., who didn’t even get 20 minutes.
It’s hard to win when your best offensive player shoots 4/24 (Kuzma, who looked tired; he didn’t get to the line). Ingram played fine (23 points); again, there were times where Memphis couldn’t stop him from going to the rim. But the Lakers couldn’t stop Tyreke Evans (32-7-7). Also, while Marc Gasol looked like he was going through the motions (11-9-5), there were guys like Jarell Martin (20 points), Andrew Harrison (15 points), and Deyonta Davis (14 points) giving them fits. Some of you guys probably don’t even know who these guys are so it’s right of you guys to get frustrated with the team. The Lakers also missed 12 foul shots, which also played a bit of a factor.
The Lakers looked fatigued for the most part but every team is. They just had to dig deep and unfortunately, they just didn’t have it. Their start (four points in six minutes) pretty much set the tone for the team. Those guys really miss Lonzo Ball’s ability to organize the offense.
L.A. has lost six straight at home and four games in a row overall. This was a winnable game but, unfortunately, they let this one go, too. They’re going against their crosstown rivals, the Clippers, on Friday night. Maybe they can stop the slump there.
Overall, just a bad, bad Wednesday night game for the Lakers.