Desmond Bane had 33 points and 10 rebounds, Ja Morant added 31 points and 10 boards, and the Memphis Grizzlies avoided elimination Wednesday night, beating the Lakers 116-99 to force their Conference first-round series. West back to Los Angeles.
Jaren Jackson Jr., the NBA Defensive Player of the Year, had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who improved to 5-0 in Game 5 played in Memphis and cut the Lakers’ series lead to 3- 2. Memphis earned a second straight No. 2 seed by posting the best home record in the NBA at 35-6.
Game 6 is Friday night in Los Angeles.
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LeBron James started 1-for-7 from the field but finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds, a modest follow-up after the 38-year-old played 45 minutes in Monday night’s overtime win in Los Angeles and became the oldest player in NBA history to post at least 20 points and 20 rebounds in his 270th playoff game.
Anthony Davis led the Lakers with 31 points and 19 rebounds. Austin Reaves had 17 points and D’Angelo Russell scored 11. Davis stayed on the court for seconds after a layup with 6:01 remaining that pulled the Lakers within 106-91. When he got up, Davis grabbed him from behind as he walked down the court.
The Lakers tried to rally, going 20-7 in the fourth. They couldn’t get close to 12, the last on a pullback from Davis with 2:52 remaining. Memphis responded with a straight eight to have the fans chanting «Whoop That Trick» with about 90 seconds remaining.
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Memphis led just 23-20 when coach Taylor Jenkins removed Dillon Brooks, better known for calling James old misses than for his defense in this series. The Grizzlies took control and snapped a 15-4 run capped by Bane’s 3-pointer just before the quarter expired for a 38-24 lead.
The Grizzlies led as many as 17 in the second with Morant scoring 10, including fouling James for a three-point play. Memphis led 61-52 at halftime.
Russell scored the first eight of the third as the Lakers quickly turned it into a close game. James, who scored nine in the third, hit a pair of free throws that pulled Los Angeles within 75-74 with 4:36 to play.
Memphis took control with a 26-2 run that lasted until the start of the fourth. Morant had 11 in the third and finished the fourth with consecutive buckets. His last drive put the Grizzlies up 94-76 entering the fourth.
Bane capped the streak with a three-point play for a 101-74 lead.
Lakers: Lost for the fourth time in their last 17 games. … They arrived by beating the Memphis bench 119-79 thanks to Rui Hachimura’s 72 points. But the forward made two quick fouls early and played just five minutes of the first half. He finished with nine points, and the benches were paired with 18 each.
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Grizzlies: They’ll have to prove they can win in Los Angeles to force the third Game 7 in franchise history and the first since 2014. They lost their lone regular-season game in Los Angeles before losing Games 3 and 4, though the Grizzlies lost by six in overtime on Monday night. … Jackson had two blocks.