Mistakes Cost Memphis Down the Stretch in Game 1


The Memphis Grizzlies finished the regular season with the best home record in the league at 35-6.

But for the third time under Taylor Jenkins, Memphis has surrendered their home-court advantage in the playoffs after their Game 1 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

It was a back-and-forth contest for much of the game. The Grizzlies took a six-point lead into half time. The Lakers flipped the third quarter to take a six-point lead into the fourth. Memphis stormed back to take a 101-100 lead, their last lead of the contest.

Ja Morant exited the game with his team trailing 101-105 with 5:48 remaining in the game. The Lakers pushed it to a 108-101 lead before Jaren Jackson Jr. rattled off his own 5-0 run.

At 108-106, Rui Hachimura hit his fifth-straight three of the contest, only to be answered by an equally improbably three by Dillon Brooks, Lakers 111 Memphis 109.

Austin Reaves hit his first of four consecutive buckets down the stretch, but Jaren Jackson Jr. stepped up again, drilling a three to bring the Grizz within one— 113-112 with 3:11 remaining.

LA 113 – Mem 112 (3:11 remaining)

Following the Jaren three, Memphis fails to corral a rebound on the defensive end, fouling for the fourth time on a rebounding play in the game. Immediately following, Austin Reaves and Anthony Davis enter a pick-and-roll that leads to Jaren falling down, leaving Reaves a wide-open layup.

Desmond Bane can flat out score the ball. It does not matter if a hand is in his face or not, the “fly-by king” is always a threat. However, shot selection down the course of a tightly-contested game has to come into play. Down three, Bane looked for the big shot to tie it up, but it was an ill-advised, early-shot-clock three that left Memphis empty on the possession.

LA 115 – Mem 112 (2:17 remaining)

It should go without saying that Austin Reaves is the best shooter on the Lakers team. It should also go without saying that you do not go under screens on players that shoot near 40% from deep.

Apparently Desmond Bane needed it to be said.

One of two things have to happen on this play and the only thing that could not happen, did.

Option 1

Bane goes under, as he did, and Jaren either hedges or they have a full-on switch for the possession. They ran this pick and roll away from Santi Aldama or Dillon Brooks, two guys you could live with switching on one possession if you are Memphis.

Option 2

Jaren shows just long enough for Bane to fight over the screen. Dillon helps off LeBron enough for this option to be viable and Jaren could easily get back onto AD’s roll.

Instead, Bane went under and Jaren was in a heavy drop, worried about Anthony Davis on the roll. Rui’s hot streak prevents Aldama from over-helping in the paint. There was miscommunication somewhere, at the most inopportune time. Reaves drills a 26-foot dagger to put the Lakers up six.

LA 118 – Mem 112 (2:04 remaining)

Still plenty of time left for the Grizz to have a chance. Sure, with no Ja Morant, Memphis does not have anyone that can create a shot, but they did find a mismatch in their favor. Jaren Jackson Jr. had post position on certified traffic cone, D’Angelo Russell, but he missed the left-hand chippy.


Reaves comes down the floor on the ensuing possession putting Tyus Jones in a pick-and-roll with AD. Tyus chases over but is never able to recover as Jaren has to drop with the Davis roll, giving Reaves and open mid-range jump that he drills to push the Laker lead to eight.

Dillon Brooks missed a three to cap off the miserable two-minute spurt that ended in a pair of Anthony Davis free throws.

From the 3:11 mark to 1:09 remaining in the game, Memphis allowed the Lakers a 10-0 run to seal the deal. No Ja obviously mattered some, but their inability to execute on both ends of the floor ultimately hurt them.

The Grizzlies will have to clean up their rotations and rebounding on the defensive end of the floor in Game 2. Ja is likely done for the series or would return as a half version of himself.

The margin for error has now significantly decreased for the young Grizz.

Grit, grind and heart make this guy the bane of the opposing team’s existence. Show out for Bluff City with this Desmond Bane Memphis Grizzlies 2022 City Jersey Bobblehead in your collection. Take 15% off at checkout with code THELEADSM15!

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