Lakers-Grizzlies Takeaways: LeBron James gets little help in loss

Lakers forward LeBron James tries to drive past Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr. and guard De'Anthony Melton.
Lakers forward LeBron James, who finished with 35 points, tries to drive past Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr., left, and guard De’Anthony Melton on Sunday at Arena.
(Alex Gallardo / Associated Press)

The Lakers began the game by scoring against the Memphis Grizzlies with a 12-foot jump shot by Stanley Johnson off a pass from Russell Westbrook.

From that point, it was all downhill for the rest of the Lakers starters, except for LeBron James, who was a force again with 35 points on 14-for-19 shooting and three of four on three-pointers.

The other starters — Westbrook, Johnson, Avery Bradley and Malik Monk — were a combined eight-for-39 shooting from the field.


All Lakers coach Frank Vogel could say was that he had “a number of guys having a tough night all at the same time.”

LeBron James has 35 points, nine rebounds and seven assists but gets little help from Lakers teammates in a 127-119 loss Sunday to the Memphis Grizzlies.

Jan. 9, 2022

Here are four takeaways from the Lakers’ 127-119 loss to Memphis Sunday night at Arena:

1) The Lakers starting backcourt of Westbrook and Bradley were awful offensively, neither able to consistently make shots.

They were a combined four-for-22 shooting from the field, one of six from three-point range.

Westbrook was two-for-12 shooting from the field and missed his only three-pointer. He did have seven rebounds and six assists.

Bradley was two-for-10 shooting from the field and one of five from three-point range.

“A lot of our team struggled to finish, either finishing open threes on the backside or finishing quality looks at the basket,” Vogel said. “ And like I said, I feel like our group let that impact our defensive focus and intensity, and that can’t happen.”


2) Monk had been impressive in his past few games, drilling shot after shot.

But he had an off night against the Grizzlies, shooting three of 13 from the field for seven points.

3) The Lakers were wallowing and in need of a spark in the third quarter when their fans started asking for Dwight Howard to be put into the game. And so, with 4 minutes 44 seconds left in the third, Vogel inserted Howard into the game with his team down 23 points.

Howard finished with seven points and four rebounds in 8:46.

4) The Lakers were once down 29 points in the fourth quarter when Vogel let DeAndre Jordan, Kent Bazemore, Austin Reaves, Wayne Ellington and Trevor Ariza clean up the mess.

With the Lakers down 126-98, that group went on a 21-0 run to cut the Lakers’ deficit to seven points with 1:16 left.

Clearly, that wasn’t enough, but the Lakers didn’t give up despite trailing by 28.

“I really want credit those five guys because that’s a tough situation to be in,” Vogel said. “You got veteran guys that are — obviously aside from Austin — veteran guys that are losing out on minutes. You sit over there for the whole game and then you gotta get out there in crunch time. I’ve seen a lot of situations where guys don’t handle that well.


“But those guys really played the right way down the stretch, and they tried to make a game of it and make it interesting. It was great competitive spirit and purity to the way that group plays. So, you definitely want to commend those guys.”

Reaves had 11 of his 16 points in the fourth. Ellington had all 16 of his points in the fourth, six of seven from the field and four of five from three-point range.