Morant, Grizzlies stave off elimination, beat Lakers 116-99
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Desmond Bane had 33 points and 10 rebounds, Ja Morant added 31 points and 10 boards, and the Memphis Grizzlies staved off elimination Wednesday night, beating the Lakers 116-99 to force their first-round Western Conference series back to Los Angeles.
Jaren Jackson Jr., the NBA Defensive Player of the Year, had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who improved to 5-0 in Game 5s played in Memphis and cut the seventh-seeded Lakers’ series lead to 3-2. Memphis earned a second straight No. 2 seed by posting the NBA’s best home record at 35-6.
Game 6 is Friday night in Los Angeles.
LeBron James started 1 of 7 from the field but finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds, a modest follow-up after the 38-year-old played 45 minutes in Monday night’s overtime win in Los Angeles and became the oldest player in NBA history to post at least 20 points and 20 rebounds in his 270th playoff game.
Anthony Davis led the Lakers with 31 points and 19 rebounds. Austin Reaves had 17 points and D’Angelo Russell scored 11. Davis stayed on the court for a few seconds after a layup with 6:01 left that pulled the Lakers within 106-91. When he got up, Davis grabbed at his back as he walked down the court.
The Lakers tried to rally, going on a 20-7 run in the fourth. They couldn’t get closer than 12, the last on a putback by Davis with 2:52 left. Memphis answered with eight straight to get fans chanting “Whoop That Trick” with about 90 seconds left.
Memphis led only 23-20 when coach Taylor Jenkins took out Dillon Brooks, known more for calling James old and missing shots than his defense in this series. The Grizzlies seized control, finishing on a 15-4 run capped by Bane’s 3 just before the quarter expired for a 38-24 lead.
The Grizzlies led by as much as 17 in the second with Morant scoring 10, including drawing a foul on James for a three-point play. Memphis led 61-52 at halftime.
Russell scored the first eight of the third for the Lakers to quickly turn it into a tight game. James, who had nine in the third, hit a pair of free throws that pulled Los Angeles within 75-74 with 4:36 left.
Memphis took control with a 26-2 run that lasted until the start of the fourth. Morant had 11 in the third and finished the quarter with back-to-back buckets. His final drive put the Grizzlies up 94-76 going into the fourth.
Bane capped the spurt with a three-point play for a 101-74 lead.
Lakers: They lost for just the fourth time in their past 17 games. ... They came in having outscored Memphis’ bench 119-79 thanks to 72 points from Rui Hachimura. But the forward picked up two quick fouls early and played only five minutes of the first half. He finished with nine points, and the benches matched each other with 18 apiece.
Grizzlies: They will have to prove they can win in Los Angeles to force the third Game 7 in franchise history and first since 2014. They lost their lone game in the regular season at Los Angeles before dropping both Games 3 and 4, though the Grizzlies lost by six in overtime Monday night. ... Jackson had two blocks.
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