Game: Memphis Grizzlies @ Los Angeles Lakers
Time: 10:00 p.m.
Odds: Grizzlies +4.5, Lakers -4.5
The Los Angeles Lakers have demonstrated their ability to perform well under pressure on a few occasions. Their big problem is that they are unable to stay healthy long enough to maintain their best performance. In Game 4 of their first-round Western Conference playoff series against the Memphis Grizzlies tonight, the Lakers will have a chance to overcome their inconsistent play.
With a convincing 111-101 home win over Memphis on Saturday, Los Angeles took a 2-1 series lead. Anthony Davis led the way with 31 points and 17 rebounds, and LeBron James once again provided the spark with 25 points, nine rebounds, and five assists.
James put forth a valiant effort after Grizzlies player Dillon Brooks called the four-time MVP and four-time NBA champion “old” and unworthy of respect. James, who is 38 years old and has played in 20 NBA seasons, has been around for a while but is still a star who produces. James helped the Lakers take the lead in the series.
By swinging his left hand into James’ groin in Game 3 and getting ejected just as the second half began, Brooks only made his bad choices worse. The Grizzlies forward scored just seven points and shot 3-of-13 from the field.
James and Davis had a difficult time playing together throughout the season, but they now seem to be in good health, giving their team the appearance of a dangerous No. 7 seed. In Game 4, the Lakers should face a Grizzlies team that has a greater sense of urgency.
Even though the Lakers showed signs of optimism late on Saturday night, they still have a long way to go before they can defeat the No. 2 seeded Grizzlies. The Lakers won the first game in Memphis, but the Grizzlies came back to win Game 2 while Ja Morant was sidelined with a bruised right hand.
In Game 3, Morant returned and scored 45 points on 13-of-26 field goal attempts, including 24 in the fourth quarter. The Lakers had a 22-point lead early in the fourth quarter, and at that point the game was already well out of hand. Morant also dished out 13 assists.
Desmond Bane scored 18 points for Memphis, which shot just 26.0 percent in the first half while trailing by as many as 29 points. Memphis’ overall shooting percentage for the game was 37.6 percent. The Grizzlies hit 13-of-39 three-point attempts to finish with 33.3 percent shooting from long range.
On Saturday, the Lakers had a 35-9 lead after one quarter. The Grizzlies believe their 92-76 victory over the next three periods was a sign of things to come. They will need it to come as Memphis is just 1-7 SU in the last eight trips to LA. The Grizzlies are 2-4 SU and ATS in their last six games against the Lakers. LA has won five of its last six and seven of its last eight at home.
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