News ID: 114209
Publish Date : 23 April 2023 - 23:14

LeBron’s Lakers Beat Grizzlies 111-101, Take 2-1 Series Lead

LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeBron James and the Lakers came out in front of this franchise’s first sellout playoff crowd in a decade and immediately produced one of the greatest first quarters in team history.
Los Angeles leaped to a 35-9 lead amidst one raucous ovation after another from fans eager for a return to the Lakers’ tradition of playoff success.
After all those first-quarter fireworks, not even Ja Morant could carry the Memphis Grizzlies all the way back to prevent the Lakers from seizing Game 3.
Anthony Davis had 31 points and 17 rebounds, James finished with 25 points after Dillon Brooks was ejected for striking him in the groin, and Los Angeles survived Morant’s 24-point fourth quarter to beat the Grizzlies 111-101 Saturday night for a 2-1 lead in their first-round playoff series.
Rui Hachimura scored 16 points in another strong effort off the bench for the seventh-seeded Lakers, who came out impressively in this long-awaited return to a true playoff atmosphere for a franchise with 17 titles. Los Angeles tied an NBA record by taking a 26-point lead into the second quarter, and Memphis couldn’t get closer than 13 points until the final two minutes.
Brooks was ejected 17 seconds into the second half after the Memphis agitator struck James in the groin while guarding him near midcourt. While the top scorer in NBA history rolled on the court in pain, officials tossed Brooks after a brief video review — and James stood up and led the Lakers to victory.
Morant scored 45 points in his return from a one-game absence with a sore right hand, even scoring 22 consecutive points for the Grizz during his stunning fourth quarter while they attempted to rally from an early 29-point deficit. He wore a black brace and padding on his hand and appeared tentative early, but eventually found his usual unguardable form.
Morant also had 13 assists and nine rebounds, but second-seeded Memphis couldn’t fully recover after the lowest-scoring first quarter in franchise history.
With the Lakers’ sellout crowd booing his every move, Brooks had just seven points on 3-for-13 shooting before his ejection. He drew the Lakers fans’ ire for his behavior during and after Game 2, when the 27-year-old Brooks called the 38-year-old James “old” and belittled James’ abilities.