April 18, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

Out-of-sync Lakers beat Grizzlies thanks to LeBron and AD

After the Lakers won on Sunday in Memphis, Tenn., LeBron James said they needed to be a team that could win all facets of the game. But in the rematch against the Grizzlies on Tuesday, there weren’t any diamonds.

Mostly, it was just bricks.

The Lakers and the Grizzlies clanked shot after shot — that’s if they hit the rim at all — in a game with little separation until late in the fourth quarter, when their stars took over and put Memphis away 94-92.

The Lakers’ win keeps them undefeated on the road, all four wins coming in San Antonio and Memphis the last week.

Some of the misses were bad — James airballed two jumpers. Others were impactful — Anthony Davis had a dagger three-pointer that rimmed out. And most, it seemed, were the result of an offense that was just a tick out of rhythm.

Passes came either a second too early or a second too late, open shooters hesitated for just a blink and nothing went too smoothly for too long. Playing without Alex Caruso (COVID protocols) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (ankle), the Lakers didn’t have head trainer Nina Hsieh, who also missed the game due to the league’s health and safety protocols.

All of it seemed to keep the Lakers from being whole, from being their best.

Still, led by James and Davis in the fourth, the Lakers hung on with James swishing home a couple of impossible jumpers and swatting away a late-game Memphis shot attempt.

James and Davis scored 26 each, with 19 of James’ points coming in the second half. James added 11 rebounds and seven assists. Davis grabbed 10 rebounds to go with four assists, three steals and three blocks.

The Grizzlies had eight players who scored at least seven points, led by Dillon Brooks and Jonas Valanciunas with 13.

The Lakers host San Antonio in Los Angeles on Thursday.