The Los Angeles Lakers had a comfortable third quarter lead but then Ja Morant showed up and led the Memphis Grizzlies to a 104-99 win. Morant had a huge night against the Lakers as he scored 41 points against the LeBron James-led Lakers.
James himself had an outstanding performance but it wasn't enough. James afterward praised Morant for the performance he put up. "When you shoot the ball as well as he did tonight from the perimeter, with his speed and his athleticism, it's gonna be hard to contain a guy like that because he's doing the whole three levels of scoring," said James, whose 37 points, including eight 3-pointers to tie a career high, went for naught.
"You can't -- there's nothing you can do. He has you at his beck [and call]." Malik Monk admitted there was nothing the Lakers after Morant started going off. "We started fouling, man, and he went to the free throw line and started seeing the ball go in, and he got his rhythm that way," Lakers guard Malik Monk said.
"And when a guy gets it going like that, there's not much you can do." Morant also earned a praise from Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins. "Obviously, Ja, what an unbelievable night by him, the tone he was setting throughout the game," Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said.
"When he got going, it just kind of fueled everyone else, and we kind of just broke loose there in that third quarter."
James blames turnovers for the loss
"We understand that we have a lot of attackers, but the careless turnovers where literally you just turn the ball over, there's no pressure or reason for it, those are the ones that get us in trouble," James said.
Lakers acting head coach David Fizdale agreed with James that that turnovers were the key in their loss to the Grizzlies. "The one thing I think probably hurt us the most down the stretch was the turnovers and the one more play, where [L.A.
failed to execute] the easy play to make one more pass to the open man," said Lakers acting coach David Fizdale, filling in while Frank Vogel is in the league's health and safety protocols. "You can watch the tale of the two and see where our shots come from," Westbrook said. "Not much in the paint."