Five takeaways from the Lakers’ 100-93 win over the Memphis Grizzlies
The Lakers got their first win of the road trip in Memphis on Saturday night, and they have one more stop before heading home.
The Grizzlies might be the worst team in the league, and they have nothing to gain by winning. They are tanking.
A lot of the Lakers’ wins are against some of the league’s worst teams, but that still matters. In the last few years the Lakers were one of those the bottom-dwelling teams others shrugged at beating. It’s progress that they aren’t any longer.
Here are five takeaways from the game.
1.) After being dominated inside Thursday, allowing 80 points in the paint to the New Orleans Pelicans, the Lakers won this game when they did better. They still allowed 34 points in the paint to the Grizzlies in the first half, but only 12 in the second half. “It’s the same formula all year,” Julius Randle said. “We defend and we win games.”
2.) Once again, the Lakers numbers got very thin. They only had nine available players, but eight in reality because coach Luke Walton wanted to avoid playing Channing Frye, who is still recovering from an appendectomy. Isaiah Thomas’ hip has been bothering him. Brandon Ingram is still out with the left groin strain. Luol Deng was out with a sprained ankle. That meant Tyler Ennis got 18 minutes and Travis Wear got 19.
3.) Deng has not played the last 71 games for the Lakers, which made the logistical gymnastics the Lakers had to engage in because of his injury a little silly. They called him questionable, but the Lakers have already determined he won’t play for the rest of the season. For most of that season, Deng has been inactive. But this month, with the Lakers’ injuries mounting, they have been forced to keep Deng active because of a minimum number of required active players, opening the possibility that an opposing coach could choose Deng to shoot free throws if a fouled player is injured and can’t take his. That’s the only difference when Deng is active with an injury vs. active without one. He was no more or less likely to play in either scenario.
4.) Lonzo Ball missed all but one three-pointer again, but this time he took fewer and he made an effort to find shots in other ways. This is a learning process for Ball, but he said he is focusing on trying to go inside more when his shot isn’t falling.
5.) Ingram has a chance to play on Monday against the Detroit Pistons, but it sounds like it’s a slim one. Walton has said that if Ingram feels ready, the Lakers will put him through a practice setting to see if he can play in a game. They aren’t having an official practice Monday.
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