The Los Angeles Lakers finished off a tough road trip with a brutal loss at the hands of the Memphis Grizzlies. The Purple and Gold competed throughout the time, even holding an 11-point lead at one point. Ultimately, they were unable to hold on to that lead, losing to a similarly-battered Grizzlies team in the waning seconds.
It was a disappointing loss in many ways. The Lakers were not at the top of their game. They had 18 turnovers to 16 assists and gave up huge offensive rebounds late in the fourth quarter as they traded buckets with the Grizzlies.
But to call this a bad loss or to think that it tells us anything of importance about the Lakers is a hasty conclusion to make. LA was playing in its fourth game in five nights and on a back-to-back after a blowout loss to the Toronto Raptors on Friday.
They came into the matchup without their point guard D’Angelo Russell. They were missing their starting shooting guard and most improved player candidate Nick Young. Larry Nance, Jr., the versatile forward off the bench, also missed the game after a knee contusion suffered in Friday’s loss. Eight minutes into his starting gig, Jose Calderon (Russell’s replacement in the starting lineup as of late) was also lost to a hamstring injury.
It’s true that the Grizzlies are similarly battered and bruised. Mike Conley and Zach Randolph among others are missing due to injury and a personal reason, respectively. (Side note: prayers for Randolph as he grieves a monumental loss.)
But the Lakers are a young team that has objectively exceeded expectations. No one expected a 10-12 record at this point in the season. This is a young team missing key contributors, playing on the road at the tail-end of a brutally scheduled stretch. A loss was never out of the question.
Finally, a word to those who considered a must-win. If the Lakers are to make the playoffs (something that still should not be expected given the volatility of a young team) the Grizzlies will be among the teams they’ll have to beat out. That said, these two teams will play twice more this season, both times in Los Angeles. That’s a great opportunity for the Lakers to pull out the tiebreaker. 3-0 against a tough team was always asking too much.
Oh by the way, Lou Williams scored 40 points on 19 shots and I’m convinced he’s a Hall of Famer.
And now for some takeaways and questions from Twitter:
DAR, Young & Nance out. 4th game 5 nights on road. Came down to last possession – great effort. Not winning title this year, focus on growth https://t.co/aJyr9wfJtl
— Jack Davis (@NotJackDavis) December 4, 2016
@LakersOutsiders how was Brandon Ingram in tonight's game to you?
— ⚡️Wally⚡️ (@Grown_simbaaa) December 4, 2016
I thought Ingram had a pretty solid game. He was a menace defensively, especially early on with three blocks in the opening quarter. He did a good job of getting to the line off of a couple of post-ups and his shot is starting to fall. We’re starting to really see the potential from Brandon Ingram.