Memphis faced off against the purple and gold, who held a 4-2 record heading into tonight’s matchup. Grizzlies legend Marc Gasol made his long-awaited return to FedExForum. Here’s how it all went down:
First Quarter: In the early going, the length of the Los Angeles Lakers frontcourt disrupted Memphis’ offensive rhythm. The Grizzlies tried to punish Los Angeles in the paint, but this strategy was unsuccessful as the Lakers accumulated a number of blocks. Playmaker Dillon Brooks was on full display in the opening quarter — he dished out the first three assists of the game for Memphis. After a slow start shooting the ball for the Grizzlies, they went on a staggering 17-0 run to take a 28-18 lead, highlighted by a pair of spot-up treys from Desmond Bane and point-blank scores from Xavier Tillman . The Bears of Beale Street were sitting pretty at the end of one — they were up 36-25 behind 18 bench points.
Xavier Tillman gets the layup at the buzzer!— Grizzly Bear Blues (@sbnGrizzlies) January 3, 2021
The Grizzlies closed the quarter on a 25-7 run, and are up 36-25 to end the quarter.
Bane - 8 points, 2 assists
Tillman - 6 points, 2 rebounds
Brooks - 5 points, 4 assists pic.twitter.com/8Q0xVPX82s
Second Quarter: Memphis’ defensive effort was excellent to begin the second quarter. The Lakers had to wait until the halfway point to attempt their first free-throws of the game. Offensively, the Grizzlies continued to share the sugar and work for high-percentage shots on most possessions — they just couldn't find the bottom of the net. Unfortunately, they were plagued by cold shooting for the entirety of the second.
Los Angeles gradually cut into Memphis’ advantage behind a scoring punch from their reserves, namely Montrezl Harrell and Talen Horton-Tucker. After owning an 11-point lead at the end of one, the Grizzlies were staring at a two-point half-time deficit. The Lakers decisively won the quarter 31-18.
Third Quarter: Memphis held Los Angeles’ dynamic offense in check at the start of the second half — the Lakers opened shooting 0-for-5 from the field. Much of the third was a low-scoring rock fight— neither team could find cohesion or gain momentum due to high-level defense from both sides. Kyle Anderson stood out as the lone offensive bright spot for Memphis in the third, as he put nine points and one assist, which accounted for a majority of the Grizzlies’ points in the quarter.
The Grizzlies and Lakers each scored 21 points in a period that both teams would like to soon forget. Los Angeles held a slim 77-75 lead with 36 minutes in the books.
end of the 3rd— Grizzly Bear Blues (@sbnGrizzlies) January 4, 2021
Anderson - 16 points
JV - 10 points, 7 rebounds
Bane - 10 points
Jones - 10 points, 5 rebounds
Brooks - 9 points, 5 assists
Fourth Quarter: LeBron James checked into the fourth quarter on a mission. He attacked the rim with an added aggressiveness and nailed a three-pointer so far beyond the line that even Trae Young would blush. James scored the first eight points of the period for the Lakers. The Grizzlies once again had a rough quarter scoring the ball, and the absence of Ja Morant was most glaring in the final frame. There was no player on the court for Memphis who they could hand the ball to time and time again during winning time, and they paid dearly for it. Los Angeles outscored Memphis 31-19 over the final twelve minutes and took home the victory, 108-94.
The Grizzlies will hope to split this mini series with the Lakers when the two teams face off on Tuesday back in FedExForum.