The Memphis Grizzlies have a tradition of celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day by holding festivities and a game to honor the holiday. This year, as they do every year, the Grizzlies did this in a first-class way. They held a MLK Day symposium in their practice facility that featured Memphian Penny Hardaway, Swin Cash, James Worthy and Sam Perkins. Here are a few highlights of the conversation:
"Education is first...Your attitude has to be in the right place as well. Your attitude determines your altitude," -Penny Hardaway said about coaching high schoolers.— Grizzly Bear Blues (@sbnGrizzlies) January 15, 2018
"I think it should be required for every US citizen to come see this [Memphis' Civil Rights] museum," -James Worthy.— Grizzly Bear Blues (@sbnGrizzlies) January 15, 2018
"You have to have visibility consciously all the time," -Sam Perkins on how this topic needs to be discussed year-round.— Grizzly Bear Blues (@sbnGrizzlies) January 15, 2018
Also, the Grizzlies sported their limited-edition MLK Day uniforms that featured a a white-and-black color palette and a style that resembled the famous “I Am A Man” sign:
The Grizzlies were coming into this afternoon’s home game having lost their last 3 of 4 games, while the Lakers were riding high on a three-gaming winning streak. The Lakers were down their best young player (in theory), though, in Lonzo Ball. Also, their coach Luke Walton was coaching on the sidelines with an illness, and Brandon Ingram was out of the game as well.
To start off the first quarter, Dillon Brooks was aggressive offensively. He scored the first bucket for Memphis, and he had 10 points in the quarter. The Grizzlies got off to a solid start offensively, and they built a secure lead as the Lakers struggled to keep up scoring-wise (I know, can’t believe I typed those words either). At the end of the first, Memphis led 34-27. For Los Angeles, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 10 points.
In the second quarter, Mario Chalmers sunk a three to put the Grizzlies up by 10. Memphis continued to keep a firm grasp on the lead, and they were up 49-38 with less than 6 minutes left in the half. The Lakers kept making little runs, but the Grizzlies never allowed it to get close in the second quarter. At halftime, Memphis led Los Angeles 60-50. For the Grizz, Marc Gasol had 12 points.
At the beginning of the third quarter, the game story changed drastically. The Lakers came out the gate aggressive and quickly cut the deficit to 4, while the Grizzlies had yet to score. Memphis called a timeout, and this story of the Grizzlies blowing a huge lead seemed all too familiar.
Thankfully though, Memphis punched back and ripped off an 11-2 run at one point while extending the lead to double digits again. The young guns of the Grizzlies broke out on several fastbreak opportunities, and Memphis had 19 fastbreak points as a team on the night. At the end of the third, the Grizzlies had reestablished their dominance and led 97-77. Yes, you read that right. Almost 100 points for Memphis, and the fourth quarter hadn’t even started yet.
In the final period, the Lakers went on another mini run to cut the deficit to 16, but the Grizzlies continued to drive strong to the basket and cash in at the line. As a team, they were 26-31 from the line. It helped too that Memphis was in a great rhythm from beyond the arc. As a whole, they had 12 threes in the game. With around 3 minutes left in the quarter, the Grizz were leading by only 11. The Lakers’ efforts weren’t enough though, and the Grizzlies ended up winning in the Forum, 123-114.
For the Grizzlies, Deyonta Davis had an amazing showing on both ends of the floor with 10 points to go along with 4 blocks and 5 rebounds. Also, Dillon Brooks had 19 points. Jarell Martin had 10 points.
For LA, Caldwell-Pope had 27 points, and Larry Nance Jr. had 15 points.