The recent injury plagued Los Angeles Lakers ended their four game road trip against the Memphis Grizzlies and nearly came up with a win despite missing two of their key starters and a key rotation player off the bench in the process.
During the first quarter, Lakers guard Jose Calderon suffered a right hamstring strain that saw him leave and not return to the game, only complicating the Lakers rotation early in the season.
Even with their key players missing, the Los Angeles Lakers (10-12) kept the score close throughout most of the first half, with Troy Daniels and Lou Williams supplying most of the offense for each team.
For Williams, his hot shooting started in the second quarter, dropping 21 points and giving the Lakers an eight point lead at halftime, 62-54.
“It just flowed, it was just one of those games,” said Williams of his shooting, having 28 points in the first half and adding another 12 in the next two quarters finish with 40 points.
For the Grizzlies, even with the absence of most of their roster, Daniels was on target from the outside, shooting 6-12 from the three point line and hitting most of his shots from the inside as well.
The Grizzlies finally settled down and began their trademark grind-out defense in the second half, suffocating any offensive plays the Lakers had with Tony Allen guarding Williams and Marc Gasol anchoring the paint.
A 9-2 run with five minutes left decided the game for the Grizzlies, a game that was winnable on both ends.
The Lakers nearly sent the game into overtime as Julius Randle was fouled on a three point attempt by Marc Gasol with 5.9 seconds left with the score at 103-100.
Randle could not convert the first two free throws and missed the last one intentionally and the loose ball somehow got to Jordan Clarkson for a three pointer but could not convert, losing the game.
After the game, Daniels said “I was just taking what the defense gave me and my teammates helped me get into those spots.”
Luol Deng had one of his best games as a Laker, finishing with 18 points, five rebounds and four steals in a game where offense was desperately needed.
The Lakers go back home to play the Utah Jazz at Staples Center and will be at home for the next three of four games.