From ridiculous to storm: another brutal comeback for the Lakers

From 2-22 in the first quarter to fully controlling the game in the last. The Lakers go from giving a dire image to crushing the Grizzlies.

The point is, the Lakers had five home games after a long tour of the East and have won all five. They came from attacking Boston and Atlanta, so they are seven victories in a row and a 21-6 that has them only half a game from that killing machine that is now the Utah Jazz (21-5). But the history of those five games is… complicated, let's say. To open and close, two nights in which they ended up overwhelming (Nuggets and Grizzlies) after napping in the first parts. In between, the famous four overtimes in three games against the Pistons and (double) Thunder.

Looking at the Lakers' level in those last three games, the Grizzlies felt legitimately capable of making a mess. Even with only nine players available, but the momentum of a revitalizing win against the Hornets after four losses in a row (now five in six games: 10-11). It is a team, it should be remembered, that is playing without Winslow (from which they still know what they can get), Jaren Jackson Jr and Brandon Clarke. This time, neither was rookie Desmond Bane, a deadly shooter who had crunched the Hornets on Wednesday.But if they had seen the last, lethargic, games of the Lakers, the Grizzlies had to know that it was enough to leave connected, agile of reflexes: interested. So it was. Another calamitous start from the champion (it's starting to be a bad habit) put the game at 2-22 after the halfway point of the first quarter. The ridiculous was amazing: not a comfortable shot (all missed, in addition), child losses and reluctance on defense with comfortable pitches granted from the corners to the Grizzlies every time the Tennessees decided to circulate with a minimum of criteria. It seemed that, after flirting all week with defeat, it was looming at a gallop. But no: the Lakers won, again. They proved that they are worth very little and came back over ten points for the eighth time this season. And at least 20 for the second night in a row. This time without extension and without the agony to which the Thunder energy led them. In fact, there were a couple of minutes left, this time without tachycardia: from that initial 2-22 a 113-96 was reached before the final light makeup of the Grizzlies (115-105) .

What happened? That the Lakers were given to play, not much more. For many minutes, they lived off the suspensions of Anthony Davis, who had missed two games and returned to an excellent level: 35 points and 9 rebounds with a silky display from middle distance and an increasing weight in the zones, where Jonas Valanciunas He started dominating and ended up dominated (15 points and 6 rebounds at halftime, 22 + 8 total). After a first half (another) nap, LeBron James burst into the third quarter, in which he added 13 points and led a crushing stretch that turned the last puff of the Grizzlies (73-80) into an 87-82 vine close the quarter with a 14-2 run and a 41-23 total. In four minutes between the third quarter and the last the Lakers amassed a definitive 19-2 (92-82). LeBron (28 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists) began to strike and finished off the turn with a tremendous dunk after a chopped pass from Marc Gasol, who played a lot in the last quarter and ended up defending better than in a bad start. He also hit a pair of front 3-pointers as his team slowly consumed that 20-point deficit and prepared for the final rebound.

Again without aiming on the outside (another issue that begins to be recurrent: 6/30 in triples) the Lakers escaped when they pressed on defense, with more aggressive schemes than normal in the second half to take out the game to some Grizzlies outnumbered in the physical and relentless whistle (33-19 in free throws taken). Without spaces to shoot, suddenly, they were the ones who accumulated losses and bad shots and allowed the Lakers to play at a gallop. They were already dead there: it was a matter of time, and LeBron's.

Ja Morant held out what he could (22 points, 10 assists) and finally only Grayson Allen's wrist (23 points, 6 triples) remained. Very little against some Lakers who overcame another unworthy start, a night without aim and a terrible game from the starting backcourt, Schröder and a Caldwell-Pope who has lost the thread after a great start to the season. In addition to Davis and LeBron, Caruso (only 2 points but 6 assists and key in the defensive awakening of the team: +24 on the court) pushed a Harrell (14 + 7) who ended up out after receiving an elbow to the head and especially Kyle Kuzma: 20 points, 10 rebounds (5 offensive) and tremendous energy to defend and scratch second options in attack. A very complete game from an increasingly valuable player who has managed to become multipurpose with an important place in the rotation and absolutely momentous moments, such as the last quarter of this game in which the Lakers went from being abhorrent to looking unstoppable. Basically, when they wanted to get down to it.

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