Morant’s third-quarter burst leads Grizzlies past Lakers 121-109

Los Angeles Lakers Rui Hachimura (28) goes up for a basket in the first half of an NBA...
Los Angeles Lakers Rui Hachimura (28) goes up for a basket in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies, Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Karen Pulfer Focht)(Karen Pulfer Focht | AP)
Published: Feb. 28, 2023 at 9:10 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Ja Morant scored 28 of his 39 points in the third quarter and added 10 assists and 10 rebounds, and the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Los Angeles 121-109 on Tuesday night in the Lakers’ first game since LeBron James injured his right foot.

Xavier Tillman finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds for Memphis, while Jaren Jackson Jr. and Desmond Bane scored 16 points apiece.

Anthony Davis led the Lakers with 28 points and 19 rebounds, while Lonnie Walker IV scored 21 points. Austin Reaves had 17, while matching his season high with four 3-pointers.

Morant took over in the third quarter, connecting on 10 of 12 shots. That broke open a close game and gave the Grizzlies a 93-84 advantage entering the fourth.

Memphis would click off eight straight points to take the first double-digit lead in the game as Brandon Clarke scored on a dunk off the Lakers’ 22nd turnover with 9:14 left. The lead would eventually reach 106-92 with about nine minutes left.

But using a 3-point shooting streak, the Lakers cut the Memphis lead to 110-106 on a three-point play by Davis. Memphis would answer by stretching the lead back to 118-106, enough to claim its second straight victory.

James’ injury, suffered in Sunday’s win over Dallas, left the Lakers without their leading scorer at 29.7 points per game. They don’t know how long he will be out.

Los Angeles shot 37% and Memphis 33% in the first half. The Grizzlies held a six-point lead, the biggest of the half for either team.

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