‘They made the little plays. I told our guys I was real proud of the way we fought
tonight. The amount of travel on our road trip for being a West Coast team’
The Los Angeles Lakers closed out a bruising road trip with a dramatic loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, 103-100.
After a Memphis turnover in the waning seconds of the game, Julius Randle was fouled shooting a three-pointer with the Lakers down by three and 5.9 seconds left.
Randle missed all three free throws. He rebounded the third miss, and gave the ball to Jordan Clarkson for one last heave, but Clarkson’s attempt fell short.
It capped a frantic final minute during which the Grizzlies had a little bit more juice. The Lakers fell to 1-3 on a four-game trip that lasted five days. They played without two starters for most of every game on the trip. Los Angeles returns home 10-12, while the Grizzlies improved to 13-8.
“They made the little plays,” Lakers Coach Luke Walton said. “I told our guys I was real proud of the way we fought tonight. The amount of travel on our road trip for being a West Coast team. Four in five (days).
“Having the injuries we had. It would’ve been easy to just give in tonight. Our guys really competed and played hard. Down the stretch they got to a couple loose balls that turned into big plays. We had our chances. On the road in the NBA, that’s really all you can ask for is to have a chance to win the game.”
Marc Gasol gave Memphis a six-point lead with a hook shot with 1:15 left in the game. The Lakers cut the Grizzlies’ lead to three with a trademark “Lou Williams and one” offering _ a driving floater, a drawn foul and a made free throw.
For the next 51.8 seconds, the score didn’t change, but so much else did. The Grizzlies had three different chances to extend their lead. Luol Deng blocked one _ a Tony Allen layup attempt with 35.6 seconds to go. Allen got the rebound, but JaMychal Green’s shot missed. Lakers rookie Brandon Ingram tossed the ball off Grizzlies forward Tony Allen to return possession to the Lakers with 29.8 seconds left. “Just try to make a play, try to be aggressive,” Ingram said. “Knew we had to rebound the basketball we had to make a big play.”
At the other end, Williams, who was nearly unstoppable in the first half, missed a 23-foot fadeaway that would have tied the score with about 20.8 seconds left. Still, the Lakers got one more chance. Deng stole Allen’s inbounds pass, but Randle couldn’t convert the free throws after the foul.
The Lakers led by as many as 11 points during the game, but their dwindling group of healthy players couldn’t hang on to the lead.
With three guards injured, the Lakers turned to Williams, Clarkson and Marcelo Huertas to fill the void. Williams did so in a big way early.
“The disappointment’s in losing, sucks,” Walton said. “You don’t want to lose. We’re a young team with injuries. It’s more important that we focus on the fact that the fourth game in five nights our guys competed their tails off.
“Instead of focusing on the disappointment of the loss, I’m gonna focus on the positives of the way we got after it tonight.”
Results from the NBA games on Saturday (home team in CAPS)
GOLDEN STATE 138 Phoenix 109; ORTLAND 99 Miami 92; UTAH 105 Denver 98; DALLAS 107 Chicago 82; MEMPHIS 103 LA Lakers 100; TORONTO 128 Atlanta 84; Boston 107 PHILADELPHIA 106; Minnesota 125 CHARLOTTE 120 (OT); MILWAUKEE 112 Brooklyn 103
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