Lakers Fall to Grizzlies

Lakers Fall to Grizzlies

Playing without Max Christie for the first time this summer, the Lakers struggled in a 100-69 Friday evening loss to Memphis that pulled them even at 2-2 in Las Vegas, and eliminated their chance to advance to the Sin City playoff.

L.A. opened the Vegas portion of their summer with a pair of wins, then had Boston down by double digits at halftime, before a big 3rd quarter answer from the Celtics flipped that third game on its head. In that Wednesday loss, Christie – who had clearly been L.A.’s best player – suffered a hip strain, and was given a “day-to-day” injury tag that kept him off the court.

In five games – including two in the California Classic – Christie averaged 19.8 points per game at an efficient clip, with 5.8 boards, 3.8 assists, 0.8 steals and 1.6 blocks, making a strong case for a rotation spot with the big squad in the fall.

But as Christie watched in street clothes, Memphis took full advantage with a 13-0 run to start the game, and a 51-22 lead at the half, before coasting to victory in the 20 second half minutes.

Memphis would lead by as many as 36 points, with David Roddy, who played real minutes for the Grizzlies against the Lakers in LAL’s 4-2 Round 1 victory in April, leading the charge with 21 points, alongside Jake LaRavia, the 19th overall pick in 2022, who added 20.

L.A. did manage to deliver the two biggest highlights of the evening, with No. 40 overall pick Maxwell Lewis, and sub LJ Figueroa both getting loose.

Lewis finished with eight points and five boards in his first start of the summer, while Figueroa impressed with 15 points on 7 of 10 shooting, plus five boards and two assists, in his first 13 minutes in Las Vegas.

Figueroa was the only Laker to shoot better than 50 percent from the field, as the team finished with just 29 makes in 80 attempts (36.3%), while allowing the bigger Grizzlies to convert 47.4% from the field, including 18 made threes to LAL’s seven.

Memphis managed 27 assists, to 13 from the Lakers, and L.A. took only eight free throws relative to 15 for the Grizzlies.

The Lakers will conclude their summer with a Sunday-evening tilt against the Clippers, before returning to Los Angeles on Monday.