Memphis Grizzlies come from behind in thrilling win over LeBron, Lakers, 127-113


The Grizzlies have been road warriors this season, holding an 8-10 record away from home. In their first matchup of the season, the Lakers had trounced them 134-107 in Los Angeles. However, in their latest encounter, the Grizzlies avenged that loss with a decisive 127-113 victory, evening the season series.

Memphis did not get off to the start they wanted in the first quarter.

The Lakers, particularly effective from three-point range, made five of their seven attempts, securing a 38-29 lead by the end of the first quarter. LeBron James was exceptional, scoring 14 points and going 4-for-4 from beyond the arc. Anthony Davis added 12 points.

The Lakers maintained their dominance early in the second quarter, leading by as many as 13 points. However, the Grizzlies rallied back, thanks to Marcus Smart’s 11 points and Desmond Bane’s critical three-pointers, narrowing the halftime deficit to 59-58.

“I was just trying to find a rhythm,” Smart said. “Tonight was one of those games I kept telling myself to stay with it. I have been doing this for 10 years. This is a make-or-miss league. Eventually, the shots are going to fall. Tonight was one of those nights.”

The Grizzlies’ turnaround was noteworthy, considering their usual struggles in the second quarter. The Lakers’ three-point shooting cooled, while the Grizzlies hit six from distance, including three from Smart. Smart said communication and playing together helped turn the tide.

“It was just talking to one another,” he said. “The last few games when we got down, it just snowballed. We are trying to fix that. We told one another to just keep playing no matter what happens and see how that works out for us. It was a great feeling, and we can’t regress. We have to continue to play that style of basketball.”

“I have to give our guys a ton of credit tonight,” said Grizzlies Coach Taylor Jenkins. “The physical nature of the game, our guys accepted that. We shoot the ball extremely well. Marcus Smart, what a helluva game. Especially after a first quarter that went sideways.”

In the third quarter, Memphis briefly led by as many as five points but ended the period tied at 94. Jenkins received a technical foul for contesting a non-call during a play involving James and Jaren Jackson.

“I apologized to (Lakers Coach) Darvin (Ham) for interrupting play,” Jenkins said. “I saw a tussle there. Jaren was clamping LeBron. They didn’t see that. I saw something that crossed the line.

“I had to stand up for my guy.”

The fourth quarter was intensely competitive, with both teams eager to return to their winning ways. The game was tied at 103 with 7:41 remaining, but Memphis surged ahead with a 21-8 run, putting the game out of reach and sending Lakers fans to the exits early. 

The Grizzlies were led by Jackson (31 points, nine rebounds), Smart (29 points, eight three-pointers), Ja Morant (21 points, seven rebounds, seven assists), and Bane (24 points, 13 assists). Ziaire Williams contributed 15 points in 20 minutes, marking the first time since 2020 that four Grizzlies players scored 20 or more points in the same game.

“I feel that it is good for us,” Morant said of the balanced scoring. “This morning, we just talked about us. Our number one thing was to have more variety on offense and to play with confidence. Tonight, we were moving the ball with 33 assists. Guys were in a groove and knocking down shots.”

James led the Lakers with 32 points and seven assists, while Davis added 31 points and six rebounds.

Looking ahead, Morant emphasized the need for consistency.

“Just making what we did tonight consistent,” Morant said. “Shots went in for us tonight. Guys were willing to make the extra pass. I told Des that if it came down to the wire and we did not win, I wouldn’t have been mad. I felt like we played hard, from the start of the game until the end.”

Next up for the Grizzlies is a game against the Phoenix Suns at 5 p.m. Central on Jan. 7 during their three-game road trip.