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Memphis Grizzlies’ stellar performance sends Lakers packing, forcing Game 6

Photo courtesy of Chris Day/Commercial Appeal.

With their backs against the wall against the Los Angeles Lakers, the Memphis Grizzlies rose to the occasion and forced a Game 6 that will be played at Arena. Based on observations, the trips across the country finally caught up with the Lakers. The lack of rest showed in their top star, LeBron James. He finished the night with only 15 points on 5 of 17 field goal attempts. The Grizzlies took advantage of his exhaustion by being aggressive and playing their style of basketball.

Once again, Desmond Bane led all Grizzlies scorers with 33 points; however, his teammate Ja Morant also had significant contributions by chipping in with 31 points. Both players finished the night with ten rebounds. The 2022-2023 Defensive Player of the Year, Jaron Jackson Jr., had 18 points and ten rebounds. The Lakers nearly came close to taking the lead in the third quarter when they only trailed by one point, 75-74.

However, that’s when Morant and the Grizzlies would lock in and go on a run to send the Lakers packing for Game 6. The Grizzlies responded with a 26-2 run that lasted through the fourth quarter. Morant had 11 points in the third and finished with back-to-back buckets heading into the final quarter.

The Grizzlies would go up 94-76 and would never look back. With the series returning to Los Angeles, the pressure is back on the Lakers to close out the series. But the Grizzlies seem confident about their chances of winning this Friday. Bane is planning to return to FedEx Forum for a Game 7 against Los Angeles. “I said it out there, and I’ll say it again,” Bane said.

“We are going to be back for a Game 7 in front of the best fans in the NBA.” But first, they must overcome a significant hurdle: winning a game at Arena. Memphis has not succeeded in Los Angeles during the playoffs or the regular season. Game 6 can be the turning point for how they navigate the rest of the postseason. If fatigue sets in on stars like James, the Grizzlies must take advantage of it by getting off to a strong start and not get too complacent in Friday’s big game.

“He and I made eye contact,” Lakers head coach Darvin Ham said. “We had a nonverbal discussion. It was time. We’re going to need him big on Friday.” James said he doesn’t know how he’ll feel Friday night now that this series has a game every other night with travel on an off day. “I’ll take care of the body,” James said. “Try to get as much sleep as I can. Seeing how fast the body can recover and get ready for Friday.” If James is not quite himself in Game 6, it will be up to big man Anthony Davis to lead the charge.

Despite the strong outing from AD on Wednesday, it wasn’t enough to catapult the Lakers to win Game 5. As the Grizzlies head into Game 6 with the wind at their backs, many wonder if they can maintain the same level of intensity and skill that they displayed in Game 5. If they can, they have a real chance to clinch the series and secure their place in the next round of the playoffs. It’s a tall order, but with the confidence and momentum they’ve gained, it’s not as far-fetched as some may think.

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Meet Derrick Branch, the founder and chief wordsmith at Strike 7 Sports. With a sharp focus on the NFL and the NBA, Derrick's expertise in sports is matched only by his passion for sharing it with others. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communications from the prestigious University of Arizona Global. Let his insightful and engaging writing take you to the heart of the action.

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