The Memphis Grizzlies had Game 4 against the Los Angeles Lakers in hand and let it sip away. The Grizzlies blew multiple chances to upset the Lakers in a 117-111 overtime loss. Instead of heading back home with the series tied 2-2, Memphis is on the brink of being eliminated from the 2023 NBA Playoffs.
The Grizzlies have to be kicking themselves following Monday’s devastating Game 4 loss at Crypto.com Arena. Memphis took a commanding 97-90 lead with just over five minutes left in the third quarter. Consecutive 3-pointers by D’Angelo Russell kept the Lakers alive. Desmond Bane’s fast-break layup with six seconds left looked like it might be the game-winner. LeBron James answered with a layup of his own, forcing overtime, where the Lakers outscored the Grizzlies 13-7.
Bane would’ve been the Game 4 hero for Memphis had the Grizzlies been able to close out the contest in regulation. The shooting guard led all scorers with 36 points. Bane was the only Grizzlies’ player who showed up offensively for Memphis in a virtual must-win situation.
How did Los Angeles take one more step toward sending Memphis home for the rest of the NBA Playoffs? Let’s take a look at the two Grizzlies who are most to blame for their Game 4 loss against the Lakers.
The Grizzlies will be hard-pressed to defeat the Lakers on nights when LeBron James has a big game and Ja Morant does not. That was exactly the case in Game 4, and it ultimately cost Memphis a contest that it badly needed to win. Morant had a nightmare shooting night, missing 16 of his 24 field-goal attempts. The point guard went 1-of-6 from 3-point range and finished with 19 points. Morant also had four rebounds, seven assists and four turnovers.
Morant delivered the assist to Bane on the potential game-winner. The superstar had a few miscues that gave the Lakers a chance to escape Game 4 with a victory. With the score tied 99-99 and a little over two minutes remaining, Morant foolishly tried to dunk over James instead of going for a layup. The result was a charge on Morant instead of a Memphis lead. Morant turned the ball over on the Grizzlies’ first possession of overtime. He scored two points on four shots in the extra session.
When Morant scored 22 straight points for the Grizzlies at the end of Game 3, it appeared to be a possible sign that the point guard was headed for a big Game 4 performance. The 23-year-old finished with five more shot attempts than points scored.
The Lakers-Grizzlies series might be most remembered for Dillon Brooks’ trash-talk and his inability to back it up on the court. Not only has the small forward failed to prevent James from taking over the series, but he’s been an abject disaster on offense.
Los Angeles has dared Brooks to take 3-pointers all series long. Brooks has obliged, and the strategy has worked out overwhelmingly in the Lakers’ favor. Brooks missed six of his seven attempts from behind the arc in Game 4. He finished the contest with 11 points on 11 field-goal attempts. In all four games against the Lakers, Brooks has shot below 40% from the floor.
James essentially put Game 4 away with a layup that gave the Lakers a 113-108 lead with 29.4 seconds left in overtime. Brooks was unable to prevent James from getting to the hoop and icing a Los Angeles victory. James finished Game 4 with 22 points and 20 rebounds.