Ja Morant scores 41 points as Grizzlies beat slumping Lakers

Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) shoots defended by Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook, right, in the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021, in Memphis, Tenn (Nikki Boertman/AP).

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Ja Morant scored 41 points, Desmond Bane added 20 and the Memphis Grizzlies overcame a 14-point second-half deficit to beat the Los Angeles Lakers 104-99 on Wednesday night.

LeBron James led Los Angeles with 37 points _ a day short of his 38th birthday _ and 13 rebounds and a season-high eight 3-pointers. Russell Westbrook added a triple-double with 16 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists.

The Grizzlies improved to 22-14 with their third straight victory, while the Lakers fell to 17-19 with their sixth loss in seven games.

Memphis trailed in the second half until Tyus Jones hit in a floater for a 93-92 lead with 6:50 left. Morant followed with consecutive 3-pointers for a 99-92 advantage with 4:28 to go. Bane sealed the win with two free throws with 5.1 seconds to go

Ahead by six at the half, the Lakers pushed their advantage to 14 at 80-66 during a third quarter in which Los Angeles made six 3-pointers. James had three of those.

The Grizzlies were able to battle back and trim the lead to five at 83-78 at the end of the quarter. Morant made in a deep 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Grizzlies starting forward Dillon Brooks sat out his third straight game because of health and safety protocols.


Grizzlies: Ja Morant entered the game third in the league in points in the paint at 14.2 per game. He’s behind Nikola Jokic (15.2 ppg) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (15.1 ppg). . . .John Konchar entered the league’s health and safety protocols Tuesday after making the first two starts of his career.

Lakers: Interim head coach David Fizdale said Memphis guard Ja Morant has quickly blossomed into an elite player. “You are talking about one of the best players in this league period. Period. The guy is a true superstar.”. . . Austin Reaves and Kent Bazemore tested out of the NBA’s health and safety protocols Wednesday. Reaves missed the previous six games and Bazemore the last five.


Lakers: Host Portland on Friday night.

Grizzlies: Host San Antonio on Friday night.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.