The Grizzlies slapped a 22-2 run on the Los Angeles Lakers Friday night, embarrassing the reigning NBA champions in the first six minutes and setting up a good-try assessment in response to a 115-105 loss in L.A.
For the Lakers (21-6), it was a seventh consecutive victory. Memphis (10-11) had just nine players in uniform and absorbed its fifth loss in six games.
“Very proud of our effort tonight,” Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said. “They turned it on in the third quarter. I thought we tried, but for the most part, really proud.”
The Lakers finished their home stand with four consecutive terrible starts, yet they didn’t lose. Anthony Davis scored 35 points and LeBron James had 28 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.
The Lakers also fell behind by 20 two nights ago before rallying to beat Oklahoma City, making them the third NBA team in the past two decades to win back-to-back games after falling behind by 20 in each contest.
Asked to gauge his level of concern with the Lakers’ slow starts, coach Frank Vogel said he’s “not there yet.”
“We don’t want to lose any of these games,” Vogel said. “The big picture is to build habits that are going to win for us in the playoffs.”
The Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma, who had 20 points and 10 rebounds, said, “We should never be down 20 points at any point in time with the personnel that we have on our team. … But we’ve been through the fire, and we know how to walk people down. We’ve been having to walk people down a little too much lately.”
Grayson Allen scored 23 points and Ja Morant had 22 points and 10 assists for the Grizzlies.
“We definitely miss the guys that are out right now,” said Allen, who hit six 3-pointers. “We know they add a lot to our team, but I feel like the nine guys we had available for tonight did a great job of fighting. I don’t think there was any letdown or any factor of fatigue.”
Desmond Bane missed his first game of the season for personal reasons after scoring a career-high 18 points for the Grizzlies on Wednesday. Bane wrote on Twitter earlier this week that his great-grandmother had died.
Memphis’ De’Anthony Melton missed his third straight game with shoulder soreness.
NEXT: The Grizzlies conclude their two-game swing to the West Coast with a game against the Kings in Sacramento on Sunday.
(This story based upon a report by the Associated Press.)