With a chance to eliminate the Grizzlies and advance to the 2nd round, the Lakers' offense never got it going and this series will head back to Los Angeles for a Game 6 after a 116-99 win by Memphis.
A combination of a strong Grizzlies defense and subpar shot making doomed the Lakers in this one, with them unable to ever really get on track offensively. The team shot 37-92 (40.2%) on the night overall, but their 10-39 mark from three-point territory was particularly troublesome considering the number of those that came in good rhythm and were lightly contested.
This level of shot making stood in contrast to the Grizzlies' shooting performance, especially from their starting backcourt. Ja Morant (13-26) and Desmond Bane (12-21) combined to shoot 53.2% from the field while scoring 67 points. Memphis showed good adjustments in being able to get both players free, using multiple on and off-ball screen actions to get Bane clean looks on the move, while forgoing screen actions more often to allow Ja to create his own shot in isolation and early offense.
With the Grizzlies backcourt powering their offense, it was Anthony Davis who led the way for the Lakers. Bouncing back from his inefficient night in Game 4, AD scored 31 points on 14-23 shooting to go along with 19 rebounds and two blocked shots. Davis was a force inside, getting into the paint for tough finishes, and flashed improved comfort in shooting his jump shot to create a well-balanced offensive attack that carried the team all night. It may have come in a losing effort, but Davis had a wonderful two-way performance.
Davis, however, was one of only three Lakers to shoot 50% or better in the game (Rui Hachimura shot 4-8, Jarred Vanderbilt shot 3-4), highlighted by their perimeter players' inability to find a rhythm. The trio of LeBron James (5-17, including 1-9 from behind the arc), Austin Reaves (4-13), and D'Angelo Russell (4-11) were a combined 13-41 from the floor for 43 points. LeBron did add 10 rebounds for a double-double, but also had five turnovers to counter his five assists.
These perimeter issues were most prevalent when AD was not in the game, with those bench groups struggling to generate good offense, which is reflected in their collective plus-minus on the night. Of the four bench players who played double-digit minutes, none were better than a -18 for the game, which was indicative of those groups never really being able to find a flow to the game.
Of particular importance was the final 4:10 of the third quarter where the Lakers, who had battled all the way back from a 15-point deficit in the 1st half to get within one point, subbed out Anthony Davis in favor of Troy Brown.
The group of Brown, Rui, Dennis, LeBron, and Austin proceeded to give up a 7-0 run to fall back down by eight before a Lakers timeout was taken to help quell Memphis' attack. At that point Davis and Russell came back into the game, but the Grizzlies were already in a rhythm and the avalanche of points continued. In that final 4:10, the Grizzlies finished the quarter on a 19-2 run, effectively putting the game out of reach heading into the final quarter.
With that, the Lakers will head home with another opportunity to close the series out. They'll look forward to another great crowd to give them a much-needed boost when the series continues on Friday for Game 6.