June 3, 2023

April 26, 2023;  Memphis, Tennessee, USA;  Memphis Grizzlies guard Desmond Bane (22) and Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) react after a foul during the first half during game five of the 2023 NBA playoffs on FedExForum.  Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Memphis Grizzlies guarded Ja Morant and Desmond Bane combined for 64 points, 20 rebounds and 12 assists in a 116-99 blowout of the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday, forcing a Game 6 against in their first round. The second-seeded Grizzles trail the seventh-seeded Lakers in the best of seven, 3-2.

Game 6 is scheduled for Friday night in Los Angeles at 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

The blistering effort of Morant and Bane spoiled double-doubles from Los Angeles’ Anthony Davis (31 points, 19 rebounds), LeBron James (15 points, 10 rebounds) and D’Angelo Russell (11 points, 10 assists). Austin Reaves added 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Lakers in a loss. By the end of the night, James looked tired, Reaves was limping on a bare knee, and Davis was slow to his feet from a fall on his tailbone.

In the back of their backcourt, the Grizzlies picked up the pace from the jump against a Lakers team that prefers to grind at half court, where Davis and company own the best defense in the West in the playoffs. Memphis pushed a 14-point lead in the first quarter to 56-39 within five minutes of the second quarter.

A three-pointer from Reaves and his no-look alley-oop to James led to an 8–0 run in the next two minutes, cutting the Lakers’ deficit to nine, and the margin remained there until halftime, when Memphis led , 61-52 .

Morant and Bane scored or assisted on 50 of Memphis’ 62 points at the break, adding up to 39 points on 15-of-27 shots and five assists over two quarters. The Los Angeles backcourt had no answer.

Davis had a double-double at the half (18 points, 10 rebounds) for the third time in his career, but James trailed the young Grizzlies and entered the break with almost as many turnovers (five) as points (six to 2) – 9 FG). Reaves, Jarred Vanderbilt and Rui Hachimura were the ones who helped Davis keep the Lakers afloat.

D’Angelo Russell mounted an 8-0 run to open the second half, cutting Memphis’ lead to 62-61, and the Lakers remained within striking distance until the four minutes of the third quarter, when Reaves a 12-foot missed. floater that would have given Los Angeles its first lead since the game’s opening minute.

Then the bottom fell on the Lakers. A tip-in from Santi Aldama sparked a 26-2 response that put the Grizzlies ahead 101-76 within 10 minutes of the game. Even when Memphis went five minutes without a field goal midway through the last quarter, the Lakers never climbed back within single digits.