On the night the Lakers retired Pau Gasol's #16 jersey in an emotional halftime ceremony, it was their current big-man, Anthony Davis, who provided the lift needed to take down the Grizzlies 112-103 on Tuesday night. The win brought the Lakers to 32-34 on the season and into 9th place in the Western Conference for the first time this season.
This win was another team effort as five Lakers scored in double-figures and everyone contributed to help hold the Grizzlies to 38.7% shooting on the evening, but it was AD who led the way with a monstrous 30-point, 22 rebound effort to carry the Lakers.
Davis started the game dominant, scoring 13 points and grabbing nine rebounds in the first quarter, imposing himself in the paint on both sides of the ball. Slashing to the paint for buckets at the rim on one end while altering and swatting shots away at the other, AD played with force and determination to give his team an edge.
Even after taking a tough shot to the face that sent him to the locker room to stop the bleeding in the middle of the second quarter, AD continued to make plays throughout the rest of the game to carry the team home.
No play exemplified this more than an isolation sequence defensively vs. Jaren Jackson Jr. -- who led them in scoring with 26 points on 8-15 shooting -- where AD got a huge stop, secured the rebound, pushed the ball up the court himself, and then dished to Rui Hachimura for a layup to help the Lakers build some much-needed momentum.
Beyond AD, the Lakers got major contributions from Dennis Schröder, Hachimura, and Austin Reaves, all scoring 17 points each on the evening in a variety of ways to help uplift the team and support Davis.
Austin had his second straight game flashing both strong scoring chops and a knack for setting up his teammates, dishing out seven assists while hitting his own shots from all over the floor.
Rui, meanwhile, flashed his usual mid-range game off one and two-dribble pull ups for important baskets vs. an excellent Grizzlies defense. As for Dennis, he struggled some with his shooting efficiency (5-14), but he made up for that by getting to the foul line and dishing out a team-high nine assists on the night.
As much as the team getting these strong scoring contributions helped key the victory, it was really the Lakers defense that carried them most of the night.
Troy Brown played excellent defense on Dillon Brooks, hounding him all over the floor and helped contribute to his 5-19 shooting night. Dennis was also great defensively vs. Desmond Bane, using ball denials and expert screen navigation to stay connected and not just bother his shooting, but to keep his attempts down too on a 3-14 night from the field. With Ja Morant unavailable, the Lakers holding the Grizzlies primary perimeter scoring options to a combined 20 points on 31 shot attempts went a long way towards getting them this win.
After back-to-back hard-fought wins over the last three days, the Lakers will now get a couple days off to recuperate before the Raptors come to town on Friday for their lone visit this season.