On a night that will be remembered as Pau Gasol’s jersey climbed to the rafters, the Lakers stayed focused and beat the team Gasol originally drafted, Memphis Grizzlies 112-103. And in the fourth, as the game continued to shine, Anthony Davis and Lakishu shut down the struggling Grizzlies.
In what has become more of an anomaly, Davis was outstanding tonight. He followed up his 38-point performance against the Warriors with 30 points and 22 rebounds tonight. His dominance in the paint got Jarin Jackson Jr. into serious trouble and helped him shutout the Grizzlies in the fourth inning.
AD may get most of the attention, but Dennis Schroeder and Austin Reeves were great tonight.
Dennis had 17 points and was great during the Lakers push in the third quarter as they regained the lead and controlled the game. Reaves continues to play more and more on the ball and looks good while doing it. He scored 17 points, 7 assists and 4 rebounds in 32 minutes. The higher his turn, the higher his ceiling.
Dare I say the Lakers are rolling. They won twice in a row, improved to 32-34 and are now in possession of ninth place, in the West which put them back into action with 16 games left.
The Grizzlies are the team that struggled on the road. Going into the night, 20 of their 25 losses had walked out. They played well defensively to start the game but didn’t have an answer for AD. He had 13 points in the first quarter and helped dominate the purple and gold.
With little lead, Reaves worked well with the second unit to keep Memphis at bay. He would push the ball up the court and find open players, grab rebounds, create second chance points and had the second best plus-minus +5 on the team in the half.
A good performance gave the AD a few extra minutes of relief in the second quarter, which was further extended when he took a shot to the face that caused him to run into the locker room for another split second.
When Davis came back, the Lakers were down by seven with less than three minutes left in the half. LA looked immediately better once he got on the floor and forced back-to-back Lakers flips and converted both of his possessions. They reduced the deficit to just one when we got into the breakout period.
First half: Grizzlies 57, Lakers 56
Anthony Davis, 15 points and 10 rebounds. Dennis Schroeder, Austin Reeves and Rui Hachimura each have 8 points. And the Lakers have 30 points in the paint. They only shoot 21.1% from beyond the arc (4-19).
– Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) March 8, 2023
Halftime is usually a time to use the bathroom, get snacks and a drink or two.
Tonight the Lakers were putting a Pau Gasol jersey to the rafters and the seat was not empty inside the Crypto.Com Arena. Tributes were sprinkled throughout the day with articles, videos, and a pre-game press conference. It all culminated in him unveiling his jersey next to Kobe’s 8th and 24th. Tears welled up in Pau’s eyes as I’m sure they were for many of the Lakers faithful.
With all the emotion and Laker history up in the air, the game still needs to be played! Halfway through the third, the Lakers regained the lead thanks to two free throws from Davis and after a Troy Brown Jr. power dunk, Los Angeles got back in the driver’s seat with a two-point lead in the fourth.
But with the game hanging in the balance, Memphis took a 9-1 lead to regain the lead with ten minutes left. The Lakers responded by giving Anthony Davis the ball on the right side at every opportunity in the quarter. He found AD Dennis running toward the basket and after a pair of converted free throws and a Dave Davis pass to Rui Hachimura, the Lakers took a five-point lead and never looked back.
There are countless adjectives one could use to describe Anthony Davis’ current form, but the adjective I use is sensational. With LeBron James and D’Angelo Russell still out, it was all you could ask for; 38 points against the Timberwolves, 39 against the Warriors and 30 tonight. On a night honoring the Laker big who was paired with another Los Angeles superstar, the AD remembered all the reason he was an NBA Great 75 player and a future Hall-of-Famer.
The Lakers will now take on the Raptors on Friday with optimism that D-Lo can return to the lineup. Los Angeles is no longer just two games away from its goal of making the sixth seed, a goal that’s now very much in play.
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