Even without Ja Morant, Grizzlies topple Lakers to level series
Xavier Tillman recorded a career-high 22 points and grabbed 13 rebounds and the Memphis Grizzlies overcame the absence of injured Ja Morant to produce a 103-93 victory over the visiting Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday.
The result evened the best-of-seven, first-round Western Conference playoff series at one win apiece.
Jaren Jackson Jr. had 18 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots and Desmond Bane added 17 points for the second-seeded Grizzlies. Luke Kennard scored 13 points, Dillon Brooks had 12 and Tyus Jones registered 10 points, eight assists and six rebounds.
LeBron James had 28 points and 12 rebounds and Rui Hachimura added 20 points off the bench for the seventh-seeded Lakers. Anthony Davis had 13 points, eight rebounds and five blocked shots and Austin Reaves scored 12 points for Los Angeles.
Game 3 will be played Saturday night in Los Angeles.
Morant aggravated a right hand injury in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s Game 1. He was ruled out of Game 2 less than an hour before tipoff. Jones started in his place.
Memphis shot 42.7 percent from the field, including 11 of 36 (30.6 percent) from 3-point range. Tillman made 10 of 13 shots, and five of his rebounds came on the offensive end.
The Lakers made 41.2 percent of their shots and were 7 of 26 (26.9 percent) from behind the arc. Davis shot just 4-for-14 and D’Angelo Russell (five points) was 2-for-11.
Tillman scored all of the Memphis points during a 7-2 push to open the third quarter as the Grizzlies elevated their lead to a game-best 20 at 66-46.
The Lakers answered with a 17-3 surge with Hachimura scoring the last five to bring Los Angeles within 69-63 with 4:04 remaining in the third.
Memphis finished the stanza strong and took an 83-71 lead into the fourth quarter.
A dunk by Davis and a layup by James allowed the Lakers to move within 92-86 with 3:48 left in the contest. However, Memphis scored seven of the game’s next nine points, with Brooks capping the stretch with a trey to make it 99-88 with 1:23 remaining.
Davis cut Los Angeles’ deficit to 101-93 on a 3-pointer by Davis with 59.4 seconds left. But Jones made two free throws with 30.8 seconds remaining to make it a 10-point game, and the Lakers called timeout and cleared the bench.
The Grizzlies led 30-19 after one quarter and increased their cushion to 59-44 at the break. Bane had 13 points in the half for Memphis, and James scored 12 for the Lakers. Davis had just six points on 1-of-9 shooting in the half.
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