Los Angeles Times
Lack of execution ends in loss
also had three assists leading to eight more Grizzlies points.
“Damn,” Lakers guard Austin Reaves said when he learned of Morant’s stats from the third quarter. “That’s a lot of points.”
The Lakers didn’t adjust quickly enough and Morant kept beating their coverage, the All-Star guard getting more and more comfortable by the play.
Led by him, Memphis outscored the Lakers 86-48 in the paint.
In a perfect world, the Lakers would’ve had James to fire back — to bully his way to the basket and get to the line to slow momentum.
He could only watch — a downthe-road reevaluation the only known next step at this point.
“We don’t want to go home early, but what I don’t want is him to rush back really early, and it’s still bothering him and he can’t be himself. Knock on wood,” Davis said as he tapped his fist against his locker. “I want him to get completely right and healthy before he steps on the floor. Like I said, it’s on us, other guys in the locker room to step up and continue to win basketball games and let him take care of what he needs to take care of until he’s back and able to start rolling again.”
Without James, Davis, anchored the defense for most of a scrappy first half and his attacking basket right at Jaren Jackson Jr. and free throw cut the Grizzlies’ lead to four.
Davis would finish with 28 points, 19 rebounds and five blocks, but the Lakers never got closer, the Grizzlies firing right back with an 11-3 run to close the Lakers out.
Lonnie Walker IV had 21 points and Reaves had 17 off the bench.
Like it was all night, Memphis got aided by 26 Lakers turnovers leading to 41 Memphis points, the frustration among guards like Dennis Schroder obvious as the Lakers couldn’t get a win while they begin an uncertain final path without James.
Cameras caught Schroder and Davis talking on the bench — an exchange Schroder said he’d prefer to keep privately, but one that doesn’t represent any deeper discontent.
“It was too many turnovers ...” Schroder said. “Of course there’s frustration. But at the end of the day, we stayed together. We got a mustwin tomorrow, we believe, in this locker room. So we just got to get to OKC and try to win.”
And even without James and even after losing to Memphis, confidence is still pretty high.
“We got a great team, more than enough to get wins, more than enough to get a win tonight,” Davis said.
“More than enough to get a win tomorrow.”
Reaves said the same, echoing no sense of panic despite James’ murky future.
“The energy is really good. Obviously you never want to see any of your teammates [hurt] and obviously LeBron is a big part of what we do —- pretty good player,” Reaves said with an understated grin.
“You never want to see that happen. … But we have a lot of talent in the room. And even tonight shows that we can play with anyone if we just control basically the turnovers. It’s a very winnable game.”