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Morant has 27 points, 14 assists as Grizzlies defeat Lakers
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) loses control of the ball between Memphis Grizzlies guards Ja Morant, left, and Dillon Brooks (24) in the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Rookie Ja Morant had 27 points and matched his season high with 14 assists, and the Memphis Grizzlies snapped a five-game losing streak with a 105-88 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night.
Dillon Brooks added 24 points and Jonas Valanciunas had 22 points and 20 rebounds as the Grizzlies helped their chances of keeping the final playoff spot in the West. Memphis entered the night two games up over the New Orleans Pelicans.
LeBron James scored 19 points and Anthony Davis finished with 15 points and nine rebounds as Los Angeles lost for only the second time in February.
The Lakers, the top team in the West, entered the game on a seven-game winning streak, but trailed by as many as 22 in the third quarter as Memphis continued to get balanced scoring. The Lakers brought James into more of an active role and a couple of 3-pointers started the half.
But Memphis continued to extend the lead and held an 86-66 advantage entering the fourth.
The Memphis lead dropped to single digits with just under 7 minutes left after a 7-0 Lakers run. But Memphis immediately built the lead back to 18 near the three-minute mark, and Los Angeles coach Frank Vogel put in his reserves.
Memphis played as well as could be expected in the first half. The Grizzlies built the lead to as many as 17 before carrying a 58-46 lead at the break. Davis had 13 for the Lakers, while James was limited to seven points.
Meanwhile, Memphis got double-digit scoring from Morant with 16, Brooks with 13 and Valanciunas already had his 29th double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Lakers: Reserve Avery Bradley got his 1,000th assist. . James was listed as doubtful pregame with a sore groin, an injury that caused him to miss Thursday’s game against the Warriors. . Danny Green sat out with a sore hip, an injury that caused him to miss a game in January. Alex Caruso started his first game of the season in Green’s spot. . The Lakers finished February 9-2. . The loss was the first away from Los Angeles for the Lakers against a West team this season. They lost to the Clippers in the season’s first game – a home game for the Clippers.
Grizzlies: Morant set a new career high with four 3-pointers. . Valanciunas had his second straight game of at least 20 rebounds. He had a career-best 25 in Saturday night’s loss to Sacramento. . The Grizzlies, who lead the NBA with 56.9 points in the paint, had 52 against the Lakers.
Lakers: At New Orleans on Sunday
Grizzlies: At Atlanta on Monday
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