The Los Angeles Lakers' road to the championship took a stumble on Wednesday night, as they suffered a 116-99 defeat at the hands of the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 5. The loss put the Grizzlies within striking distance of advancing to the next round, as they now lead the series 3-2.
LeBron James Struggles to Find His Groove
LeBron James, who is widely considered one of the greatest basketball players of all time, had a rough outing in Game 5. He missed 12 of the 17 shots he attempted and committed a game-high five turnovers.
After the game, James candidly assessed his performance: "Tonight I was s---. I'll be better in Game 6."
Anthony Davis Steps Up to Support His Teammate
Despite James' struggles, teammate Anthony Davis stepped up to lead the Lakers with 31 points and 19 rebounds, tying his career playoff high.
After the game, Davis showed his support for James and stressed the importance of moving forward. "I had my head down and he was telling me to keep my head up. And I kind of just relayed that same message to him tonight. 'You have the most points scored ever.
You're the best basketball player to ever touch the court.' So, it's fine. He'll be fine. He'll adjust. He'll get better. Our team will get better and Friday is another opportunity to close the series." James admitted that he must improve on the offensive end if the Lakers hope to advance.
"Just got to be better," he said. "It starts with me. Tonight I was not very good at all. My defense was pretty good. Offensively, I was not really good. So, we all got to do a better job helping one another." Despite the loss, the Lakers still have a chance to close out the series in Game 6.
As Davis stated, "I'm willing to play 48. This is what you play an entire season for. So if Coach needs me to play 42, 45, 48, or whatever minutes to get the job done, I'll be ready to do so." The Grizzlies, on the other hand, have been given new life and hope to continue their underdog story.
As guard Grayson Russell put it, "I have nothing to say about them, honestly." Meanwhile, forward Kyle Anderson added, "We were told we weren't going to be here in the first place. It's no pressure, it's just basketball." The outcome of the series could change drastically in just two days when the Lakers and Grizzlies face off again at Crypto.com Arena. The pressure is on for both teams, and the basketball world will be watching to see who comes out on top.
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