Los Angeles Lakers

Lakers Can't Close Out Grizzlies, Lose 116-99 in Game 5

The Grizzlies hit 14 three-pointers and defeated the Lakers, 116-99, in Game 5, staving off elimination in this exciting, physical, and defensive-minded first-round series.

Los Angeles Lakers v Memphis Grizzlies - Game Five

There were times on Wednesday night at FedEx Forum when it appeared as if the upset-minded Los Angeles Lakers would rally to finish off the Memphis Grizzlies in their first-round series.

Yet each and every time the Lakers got close, the Grizzlies would go on a double-digit run and pull away. Both teams got wide-open shots from beyond the arc in Game 5, Memphis made theirs, the Lakers did not.

The Grizzlies hit 14 three-pointers and defeated the Lakers, 116-99, in Game 5, staving off elimination in this exciting, physical, and defensive-minded first-round series.

After Game 4 in Los Angeles, LeBron James called the closeout game "the hardest in the series." He said it was the "most tiring, most brutal one, and we better be ready for it."

Unfortunately for the Lakers, they were not ready for Game 5, the Grizzlies were and now the series is headed back to Hollywood with the Lakers needing everything they have to make sure they don't have to come back to this building on Sunday for Game 7.

Instead of a series-clinching victory, the Lakers suffered a shocking blowout defeat that could carry over into Game 6 on Friday.

The Lakers led 4-2 less than one minute into the game, but by the time the first quarter came to an end, L.A. was down by 14 and seemingly had no answers for the hot-shooting Grizzlies. They would never lead again.

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They trailed by as many as 17 points in the second quarter, before closing out the half on an 8-0 run to get within single-digits at the break.

D'Angelo Russell, who scored nine straight points during a one-minute stretch in the fourth quarter of Game 4, started the second half with eight consecutive points to cut the Memphis lead to 61-60. But the Grizzlies went on a run of their own, and then closed the quarter on a 19-2 run that put the game out of reach.

“That run at the end of the third, kind of got away from us,” said Anthony Davis, who promised he'll be ready to play 48 minutes if needed in Game 6.

It was the first victory of the series for the Grizzlies with Ja Morant on the court. Morant injured his hand at the end of Game 1, and did not play in the Grizzlies Game 2 victory. The All-Star point guard finished with 31 points. Desmond Bane carried over his impressive performance in Game 4 with 33 points and four three-pointers.

“I said it out there, and I’ll say it again," Bane said. "We are going to be back for a Game 7 in front of the best fans in the NBA.”

Anthony Davis bounced back from his poor offensive performance in Game 4 with a team-leading 31 points, 19 rebounds, and two blocks. James had 15 points, 10 rebounds, and five turnovers.

But the game came down to three-point shooting. The Lakers shot a paltry 10-for-39 from three, whereas the Grizzlies were 14-for-40. That 12-point difference in favor of Memphis was the difference in the game.

The Lakers still hold a 3-2 series lead and will now have to hold on to home-court on Friday for Game 6 back at Crypto.com arena. The energized crowd, which finally got its first taste of playoff basketball inside a soldout arena for the first time in 11 years, should provide a lift for the purple and gold. That's one reason for optimism, but if the Lakers continue to shoot this poorly from three, they'll be in trouble once again.

“I’ll take care of the body,” James said. "Try to get as much sleep as I can. Seeing how fast the body can recover and get ready for Friday.”

In order to advance to the conference semifinals that's not inside "the bubble," the Lakers will need to finally finish off these fearless Grizzlies. To do that, they will need James and Davis to be at the peak of their powers, and to get contributions from their supporting cast.

When they've done that in this series, they've not only beaten the Grizzlies, but looked like one of the best teams still remaining in the NBA Playoffs.

Game 6 will tipoff in Los Angeles on Friday night.

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