Winning Streak Ends for Shorthanded Lakers
Without two of their best playmakers, the Lakers’ four-game winning streak came to a crashing end in Memphis.
Injuries prevented Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram from paying, as the Lakers’ offense rarely got off the ground. Their defense fared worse as the Grizzlies came away with a 123-114 win.
“We weren’t physically, mentally ready to match what Memphis brought tonight,” coach Luke Walton said. “And that’s disappointing because that doesn’t have to do with anything but the toughness to be engaged in a fight. … We let them kind of punk us all over the floor.”
Eight Grizzlies scored in double figures, led by a near triple-double from Tyreke Evans (15 points, 12 assists, nine rebounds) and steady scoring by Marc Gasol (17 points).
Memphis (14-28) shot 51.2 percent from the field, while the Lakers made just 39.6.
One of the few bright spots was the two-way play of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who dropped 27 points in his second-highest scoring output in his first year as a Laker.
The 24-year-old was scorching from deep, hitting six 3-pointers while also finding time for seven rebounds.
“He seems to be in a really good place right now,” Walton said. “Locked in, making winning plays on both ends of the court, not forcing shots, creating for others when he gets doubled.”
Caldwell-Pope’s shooting was crucial when the Lakers (15-28) rallied from a double-digit deficit to pull within two points midway through the third quarter.
But the Grizzlies overwhelmed their visitors from there, outscoring them 30-12 through the rest of the period.
The Lakers never rallied from that deficit despite 18 points from Kyle Kuzma and Larry Nance Jr.’s 15-point, 11-rebound double-double.
Signed in the morning, Gary Payton II made his Lakers debut with four points, four assists and two blocks in 11 minutes. … Jordan Clarkson shot just 2-of-13. … Josh Hart scored all 16 of his points in the second half. … The Lakers shot a season-best 26-of-31 on free throws. … A crowd of 17,794 sold out FedExForum.