The Lakers took on the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night, with Los Angeles looking to improve their record to 3-1 for the first time since the 2010-2011 season. A tight affair in the first half, the Lakers went on a 29-2 run in the third quarter to put away the Grizzlies 120-91. Anthony Davis had an absolutely historic performance, and that’s even with him sitting for the entire fourth quarter with the game well in hand. After falling to the Clippers on the opening night of the season, the Lakers have bounced back nicely, winning their next three.
Anthony Davis Goes Full Shaq
Before the game, Anthony Davis was listed as a game-time decision with a shoulder injury. He suited up with tape on his shoulder and was noticeably uncomfortable at the beginning of the game. He sure looked healthy by the end of it, though, finishing the game with 40 points and 20 rebounds (8 offensive), the first Laker to do so since Shaq in 2003. With the Lakers struggling against Memphis early on, going down 15-2 out of the gate, they turned to Davis for an offensive spark. He kept them in the game with 20 points and 12 rebounds at halftime to give the Lakers a two-point lead.
Then the third quarter started, and he shifted into another gear. Memphis sent him to the line 18 times, and he responded with 18 makes in that quarter alone. He was simply unstoppable, and Memphis had no answers for him defensively. When their shots weren’t falling, the Grizzlies couldn’t make a play on the other end to stop the bleeding.
This is what you trade all those picks and young players for. When shots aren’t falling, you can dish the ball to your all-world forward. He got to the rim and he got to the line, and he willed the Lakers to a blowout win. Yes, better teams will make the Lakers pay for a poor start like tonight. But it’s nice to see a win when the team is not at its best. That’s what separates good teams from great teams.
Struggling From Distance
The Lakers shot 7-26 from three against the Grizzlies, starting the game 0-10 from deep and not getting much better from then on. Of course, they rode Anthony Davis and the free-throw line to the easy win tonight, but their long-range issues continue a trend from their first three games.
While it is not nearly time to panic about this, it is something to keep an eye on as the season continues. Kyle Kuzma’s return from injury will hopefully help the spacing and inflate the team’s 3-point percentages.
Over their current three-game winning streak, the Lakers have outscored teams by 46 points in the second half. When you have two superstars like LeBron James and Anthony Davis, it tends to wear down a team later in games, and a Memphis team coming cross-country after an emotional overtime win 48 hours before was no different.
The Lakers will have Thursday off while travelling to take on Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks at 6:30 p.m. PST on Friday, November 1.