Morant's third-quarter burst leads Grizzlies past Lakers

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Ja Morant scored 28 of his 39 points in the third quarter and added 10 assists and 10 rebounds, and the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Los Angeles 121-109 on Tuesday night in the Lakers' first game since LeBron James injured his right foot.

Xavier Tillman finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds for Memphis, while Jaren Jackson Jr. and Desmond Bane scored 16 points apiece.

Anthony Davis led the Lakers with 28 points and 19 rebounds, while Lonnie Walker IV scored 21 points. Austin Reaves had 17, while matching his season high with four 3-pointers.

Morant took over in the third quarter ,connecting on 10 of 12 shots. That broke open a close game and gave the Grizzlies a 93-84 advantage entering the fourth.

Memphis would click off eight straight points to take the first double-digit lead in the game as Brandon Clarke scored on a dunk off the Lakers' 22nd turnover with 9:14 left. The lead would eventually reach 106-92 with about nine minutes left.

But using a 3-point shooting streak, the Lakers cut the Memphis lead to 110-106 on a three-point play by Davis. Memphis would answer by stretching the lead back to 118-106, enough to claim its second straight victory.

James' injury, suffered in Sunday's win over Dallas, left the Lakers without their leading scorer at 29.7 points per game. They don't know how long he will be out.

Los Angeles shot 37% and Memphis 33% in the first half. The Grizzlies held a six-point lead, the biggest of the half for either team.


Lakers: In addition to James, G D'Angelo Russell missed his second game with a right ankle sprain. ...Recorded five blocks in the second quarter. .

Grizzlies: Morant was 3 of 14 in the first half, including missing all four 3-point attempts. ...Have won five straight at home and are 26-5 at FedExForum.


Lakers coach Darvin Ham said the team continues to evaluate the right-foot injury to James and he had no definite timetable for his return. But he said the team continues to strive for the postseason despite the injury. The Lakers are only a half-game out of the play-in game and 2 1/2 from sixth-place Dallas. “It's a huge blow to have LeBron injured,” Ham said. “We're going to keep going, and it's full steam ahead with the goals we set for ourselves.” The Lakers coach added that the organization would not return James to action until he is cleared by the medical staff.


Lakers: Play Wednesday at Oklahoma City

Grizzlies: Travel to Houston to play the Rockets on Wednesday.


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Clay Bailey, The Associated Press