Anthony Davis had 31 factors and 17 rebounds, LeBron James completed with 25 factors after Dillon Brooks was ejected for putting him within the groin, and the Los Angeles Lakers survived Ja Morant’s 24-point fourth quarter to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 111-101 Saturday evening for a 2-1 lead of their first-round playoff collection.
Morant scored 45 factors in his return from a one-game absence with a sore proper hand, even scoring 22 consecutive factors throughout his beautiful fourth quarter whereas Memphis tried to rally from an early 29-point deficit. Morant additionally had 13 assists and 9 rebounds, however the second-seeded Grizzlies couldn’t come all the best way again after scoring a franchise-low 9 factors within the first quarter.
Rui Hachimura scored 16 factors in one other sturdy effort off the bench for the seventh-seeded Lakers, who got here out impressively of their first dwelling playoff sport with a capability crowd in 10 years. Los Angeles tied an NBA report by taking a 26-point lead into the second quarter, and Memphis couldn’t get nearer than 13 factors till the ultimate two minutes.
Recreation 4 is Monday evening in Los Angeles.
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LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts throughout the first quarter towards the Memphis Grizzlies in Recreation Three of the Western Convention First Spherical Playoffs at Crypto.com Enviornment on April 22, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Harry How/Getty Photos)
Brooks was ejected 17 seconds into the second half after the Memphis agitator struck James within the groin whereas guarding him close to midcourt. Whereas the highest scorer in NBA historical past rolled on the court docket in ache, officers tossed Brooks after a quick video evaluate.
With the Lakers’ sellout crowd booing his each transfer, Brooks had simply seven factors on 3-for-13 capturing earlier than his ejection. He drew the Lakers followers’ ire for his habits throughout and after Recreation 2, when the 27-year-old Brooks known as the 38-year-old James “previous” and belittled James’ skills.
This rivalry stayed chippy within the third quarter, with Lakers ahead Hachimura getting a technical foul for a livid response to a foul.
Except for the bodily play, the Lakers have been accountable for Recreation 3 till the Grizzlies made it mildly attention-grabbing late, by no means getting nearer than 9 factors.
Morant wore a black brace and padding on his hand and appeared tentative with it at occasions, however Memphis’ main scorer began slowly earlier than rounding into his traditional unguardable type within the fourth quarter.
Desmond Bane scored 18 factors for the Grizzlies.
GRIZZLIES’ DILLON BROOKS EJECTED AFTER LOW BLOW ON LEBRON JAMES
A frenetic crowd confirmed up for the Lakers’ first playoff sport in 10 years with a full area, and Brooks’ provocative habits offered an ideal outlet for the followers’ vitality. The followers booed Brooks in pregame warmups and every time he touched the ball earlier than his ejection — however extra importantly, the Lakers performed with an analogous edge from the opening tip.
Los Angeles rushed away to a double-digit lead and went up 35-9 after one quarter whereas the Grizzlies flailed offensively, going 3 for 25 with six turnovers. Brooks was significantly unhealthy, lacking 10 of his first 12 photographs and making little impression on protection.
The Lakers led by 29 within the second quarter earlier than Memphis lastly shook off its street jitters and made a 10-0 run to shut the primary half, trimming its deficit to 16.
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Grizzlies: Brooks is the one participant in franchise historical past to be ejected from a number of playoff video games. He has been ejected six occasions in his six-year profession, and he served two suspensions this season for an accumulation of technical fouls. … Memphis hadn’t performed a postseason sport in Los Angeles since 2013.
Lakers: D’Angelo Russell scored 17 factors. He had a four-point play within the first quarter, the Lakers’ first such play in a postseason sport since Kobe Bryant did it in 2009. … The 17-time NBA champions’ final playoff sport with a full crowd was in 2013. The Lakers missed the subsequent six ensuing postseasons, and their 2020 championship run occurred within the Florida bubble. They hosted three first-round video games in 2021 with a half-full area as a consequence of COVID-19 restrictions.