Friday, April 12, 2024
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NBA Preview: Los Angeles Lakers (40-32) at Memphis Grizzlies (24-48)

An eventful week for the red-hot Los Angeles Lakers continues when they travel to face the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday.

Two nights after posting the franchise’s highest point total since 1987 in a 150-145 win over the Indiana Pacers on Sunday, Los Angeles rallied from a 19-point, fourth-quarter deficit to stun the host Milwaukee Bucks 128-124 in double overtime on Tuesday for their fourth straight victory.

If the comeback weren’t impressive enough, the Lakers (40-32) did it without LeBron James, who missed the Milwaukee game due to a left ankle injury.

In James’ absence, Anthony Davis registered 34 points and 23 rebounds; Austin Reaves had 29 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists; and D’Angelo Russell logged 29 points and 12 assists.

The Lakers never led in the game until Spencer Dinwiddie’s 3-pointer with 2:19 left in the first overtime gave Los Angeles a 111-108 edge.

Russell sank two free throws at the end of the first overtime to send the game to a second five-minute frame, where the Lakers finally clawed their way to the win.

With 10 games left in the regular season, the Lakers hold the ninth spot in the Western Conference standings. Los Angeles would host the Golden State Warriors in the 9 vs. 10 play-in game if the season ended today — a rematch of a Western Conference semifinal series last year.

As for the Wednesday meeting with Memphis, the Lakers will face the challenge of the second night of a back-to-back, following a game in which Davis logged 52 minutes, Russell played 50 and Reaves was on the court for 48. James, however, is likely to return against the Grizzlies.

Unlike the Lakers, Memphis (24-48) should have the stamina advantage, as the Grizzlies have played just one game in the last four days.

Memphis took a 128-103 beating in Denver on Monday, as the defending-champion Nuggets never trailed.

The Grizzlies trailed by 25 at halftime, then cut the deficit to 15 points in the third quarter, but that would be as close as they could get.

Down the stretch, the Grizzlies hope to get back a key member of their 50-plus-win seasons each of the past two years. Brandon Clarke, sidelined since tearing his left Achilles tendon last March, is nearing his season debut.

Clarke played in 237 games (29 starts) over the previous four seasons, averaging in double figures each year with Memphis. He was upgraded to questionable to return Wednesday against Los Angeles.

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