NBA, Los Angeles Lakers vs Memphis Grizzlies: Starting the innings with back-to-back losses Los Angeles Lakers finally get a win against Ja Morant’s Memphis Grizzlies 121-118. Showing a bit of potential of what can be achieved for the Lakers.
Carmelo Anthony had just scored a team-high 28 points, moving into ninth place on the NBA’s career scoring list, and was asked to make a speech. The 37-year-old Anthony said he was too tired.
Anthony now has 27,423 career points, moving past Moses Malone (27,409). Shaquille O’Neal ranks eighth in scoring with 28,596 points.
Morant made 13 of 21 from the field and made a career-best five 3-pointers and made 40 points also adding 10 assists. By halftime, Morant had 17 points, including four 3-pointers.
”I really don’t care about what I’ve done tonight,” Morant said. ”I missed a free throw to tie it. That’s pretty much the only thing on my mind.”
The Grizzlies led by as many as 10 points in the first quarter. The Lakers were dominating inside and used their height advantage to take a 62-56 halftime lead.
Anthony Davis had 22 points and four blocks to help the Lakers rebound from two opening losses. LeBron James finished with 19 points after a slow start. Anthony moved into ninth on the NBA’s career scoring list with 27,423 points.
All the starting five for Memphis Grizzlies were in double digits. Lakers however failed to replicate the all-starting double-digit point scoring but had six players over 9 points.
Lakers outscored in bench points scored 48-22. On the counterpart, Memphis outscored Lakers 62-52 for points in the paint. There were 13 lead changes and 7 ties in the whole game.
Davis blocked a Morant layup attempt with 50 seconds left and that appeared to seal it for the Lakers. The teams exchanged free three throws, then Bazemore fouled Morant. But the Grizzlies failed to complete the comeback.
There was plenty of drama in the final minute as Morant was fouled on a 3-point attempt by Kent Bazemore with 2.5 seconds left and Memphis trailing by three. Morant had a chance to tie the game, but missed the third and final free throw and the Lakers escaped with the win.
In a scary moment for the Lakers, James fell to the court and held his right leg in some pain in the third quarter after Desmond Bane fell into his leg. James was looked at by trainers and was down for a brief time. He re-tied his shoes, popped back up, jumped up and down a few times and stayed in the game. About a minute later, he had a big block.
James was sitting on the bench next to thre 37-year-old Anthony, his teammate and longtime friend, when a video tribute was played to honor his latest milestone and fans chanted ”Melo!”
”I think it’s always sweeter when you win and even more sweeter when it just happens organically,” James said of Anthony’s milestone. ”He was playing straight up flow and rhythm basketball. To move into ninth all-time on the scoring leaderboard is special. Usually, when some of my friends have these kind of achievements, I text them or call them or Facetime them and put something on social media. In this case, I got to do it in person because he’s my teammate now. I got to do it in person. That made it special for me.”