On Wednesday night at Staples Center, the Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Memphis Grizzlies 109-99, as Tyreke Evans had a big night for the visitors with 32 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
Brandon Ingram was back following a couple games out with minor injuries in both quadriceps, and the forward finished with team-highs with 23 points and four assists, along with four rebounds. While having Ingram back was a boost for the Lakers, the forward's return could not turn the tide and stop the bleeding.
With the loss, the Lakers sufferred their fourth defeat in a row and seventh in their last eight games. The purple and gold have still not won a game at home during the month of December with only one home game remaining before the calendar flips to 2018.
Once again, the Lakers continued to shoot themselves in the foot from the foul line. Entering the night as the worst free throw shooting team in the NBA and the only NBA team shooting below 70 percent from the charity stripe, the Lakers missed 12 of their 33 free throws in the loss to the Grizzlies. Meanwhile, Memphis only attempted six more free throws than the Lakers but managed to collect an extra 13 points from the foul line.
Lakers rookie Kyle Kuzma, who had been sensational in recent games, finally had an off night as heavy minutes appeared to catch up with the forward. The 22-year-old missed 20 of his 24 shots on Wednesday, including 10 of his 11 three-point attempts. In addition, the rookie appeared to take a knee and came up hobbling late in the game. However, Kuzma came in to finish the game, so one would expect he'll be ready to play on Friday night.
On the topic of rookies, the Lakers were without Lonzo Ball for the second game in a row, and LA looked like a completely different team without its starting point guard available. In particular, the Lakers struggled to get out in transition, push the pace and share the ball on Wednesday night. LA finished with only 14 assists in the game.
With the win, the Grizzlies improved to 11-24, while the Lakers fell to 11-22. Ball and starting center Brook Lopez will both be sidelined on Friday, when the Lakers host the LA Clippers for the final home game of 2017.
Notes: Lakers forward Julius Randle only played 11 minutes in the loss, as he continues to struggle for time on the court. Jordan Clarkson got the start in place of Ball for the second game in a row, and Clarkson finished with 22 points, four rebounds and two assists in 38 minutes.