Field Level Media
Feb 28, 2023
Ja Morant had 39 points as part of a triple-double and the host Memphis Grizzlies took advantage of LeBron James' absence to pull away from the Los Angeles Lakers late for a 121-109 victory on Tuesday.
Memphis' Xavier Tillman Sr. ignited a key third-quarter run with a dunk.
The Lakers, who led by as many as six points in the third period, saw a three-game winning streak end shortly after learning that James is expected to miss at least two weeks with a foot injury that occurred in a Sunday win at Dallas.
With Anthony Davis (28 points, 19 rebounds) and Lonnie Walker IV (21 points) leading the way, the Lakers played the Grizzlies to a 73-all tie before Memphis closed the third quarter with a 20-11 burst to take the lead for good.
Tillman began the run with a dunk and Luke Kennard added a 3-pointer, but Morant carried the vast majority of the offensive load, single-handedly outscoring the Lakers 15-11 over the 4 1/2-minute stretch.
The Lakers managed to get within 110-106 with 4:48 to go on a three-point play by Davis. However, Tillman turned a Desmond Bane assist into a layup and Morant nailed one of his patented floaters as well as a dunk in an 8-0 counter that kept the visitors at arm's length.
Morant's triple-double included 10 rebounds and a game-high-tying 10 assists. The 39 points were his second-most this season (he had 49 against the Houston Rockets in October), while the triple-double was his sixth of the campaign.
Tillman chipped in with 18 points and a team-high 11 rebounds, while Bane, who had four steals, and Jaren Jackson Jr. scored 16 points apiece in Memphis' second straight win.
Los Angeles' Dennis Schroder produced 10 points and a game-high-tying 10 assists.
Austin Reaves (17) and Malik Beasley (12) also scored in double figures for the Lakers, who lost despite outscoring Memphis 39-18 on 3-pointers and 20-13 at the free-throw line.
Davis was 10-for-13 at the line and also found time for a game-high five blocks.
--Field Level Media