The Los Angeles Lakers dropped their fourth straight game, falling to the visiting Memphis Grizzlies 127-113 at Crypto.com Arena on Friday night. The Lakers held a slim lead for most of the contest before the Grizzlies unleashed a torrent of three-pointers in the fourth quarter to pull away.
Grizzlies Catch Fire from Downtown to Bury Lakers
The Lakers led for much of the first three quarters and held a 93-89 advantage heading into the final frame. However, Memphis caught fire from long range down the stretch, hitting eight three-pointers in the fourth to bury Los Angeles.
Marcus Smart was the catalyst, knocking down four triples in the quarter on his way to finishing with a season-high 29 points. The Grizzlies ended up shooting 23-45 (51.1%) on threes for the game. Desmond Bane added 23 points while Ja Morant had 20 points and eight assists before sitting out the fourth quarter with the game in hand.
“They got super hot,” said Lakers forward LeBron James. “We played some really good defense down the stretch and they still hit them. We have to find a way not to let teams go on runs like that, but tonight we just didn’t have enough.”
Anthony Davis led the Lakers with 19 points and eight rebounds while Russell Westbrook added 16 points off the bench. But outside shooting continues to plague Los Angeles – they hit just 10 three-pointers on the night.
“Our offense has been solid but we go through too many dry spells,” Davis said. “Especially when teams hit tough shots like Memphis did tonight, we have to be able to match them offensively.”
Four-Game Skid Puts Pressure on Lakers
With the loss, the Lakers fall to 17-23 on the season and 12th place in the Western Conference. The team is struggling with cohesion and consistency, exemplified during this four-game losing streak.
LeBron James continues to be hampered by an ankle injury, noticeably lacking explosion at times during the Grizzlies game. The roster also lacks reliable shooting around their stars, as the Lakers shot just 10-43 on threes against Memphis.
There is mounting pressure on the front office to make a move to bolster the roster before the trade deadline next month. The Lakers have been linked to veteran wings like Eric Gordon and Doug McDermott who could provide an offensive spark.
“We have to figure some things out internally first,” James said about potential roster changes. “Do we need more shooting or playmaking? We’ll evaluate where we’re at as a group before looking externally.”
Head coach Frank Vogel also finds himself on the hot seat during the losing streak. His adjustments have failed to stop opposing offenses recently while the Lakers’ own scoring comes and goes.
As Davis put it, “We have a lot of talent but we aren’t seeing results. We have to come together and turn this thing around quickly.”
Injury News and What’s Next
Despite dealing with ankle soreness, LeBron James was able to suit up against the Grizzlies, posting 18 points and seven rebounds. But his mobility was limited at times, especially finishing at the rim.
The Lakers continue their home stand by hosting Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday. Portland sits just ahead of Los Angeles in the standings at 11th in the West.
The game against the Blazers starts a stretch of more winnable games that could help the Lakers gain momentum headed towards the All-Star break next month. But the pressure is mounting for changes if this losing streak continues to spiral.
“We look forward to being back home and getting a win on Sunday,” Davis said. “It’s time for us to turn things around.”
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