NBA: Ja Morant magic keeps Grizzlies alive as Lakers beaten | Inquirer Sports
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NBA: Ja Morant magic keeps Grizzlies alive as Lakers beaten

/ 12:57 PM April 27, 2023

 Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies takes a shot against Dennis Schroder #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the second half of Game Five of the Western Conference First Round Playoffs at FedExForum on April 26, 2023 in Memphis, Tennessee.

Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies takes a shot against Dennis Schroder #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the second half of Game Five of the Western Conference First Round Playoffs at FedExForum on April 26, 2023 in Memphis, Tennessee.  Justin Ford/Getty Images/AFP

Ja Morant led a superb second half rally as the Memphis Grizzlies kept their NBA playoff campaign alive with a 116-99 victory over LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday.

Memphis, down 3-1 in the best-of-seven Western Conference series after defeat in game four, looked to be in control after opening up a 17-point lead in the first half in front of their raucous home fans at the FedEx Forum.

But the hosts appeared to be wobbling in the third quarter after the Lakers rallied at the start of the second half to close to within a point of Memphis at 75-74.

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Yet that was the cue for Morant to lead a devastating 19-2 run to close the third quarter that effectively sealed victory for the Grizzlies, who led 94-76 heading into the fourth.

Morant finished with 31 points and 10 assists from 13-of-26 shooting while Desmond Bane led the Memphis scoring with 33 points.

Afterwards Morant said the Grizzlies had been inspired by their loud home crowd.

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“This is our home floor, our home crowd and we feed off their energy. This is who we do it for,” Morant said.

“Coming out here and protecting home floor is something we take pride in and something we plan to continue to do.”

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The Lakers meanwhile were left chasing the game after a rare off night from LeBron James.

LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers handles the ball against Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies during the first half of Game Five of the Western Conference First Round Playoffs at FedExForum on April 26, 2023 in Memphis, Tennessee.

LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers handles the ball against Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies during the first half of Game Five of the Western Conference First Round Playoffs at FedExForum on April 26, 2023 in Memphis, Tennessee. Justin Ford/Getty Images/AFP

The Lakers superstar – the hero of Monday’s epic game-four win in Los Angeles – finished with just 15 points from 5-of-17 shooting, with just one three-pointer from nine attempts.

With LeBron struggling to get going, it was left to Anthony Davis to keep the Lakers in the hunt.

Davis, the Los Angeles center, finished with 31 points and 19 rebounds.

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“It’s not about what AD and myself are doing, it’s about how we can win basketball games,” LeBron said afterward. “And tonight I was shit — I’ll be better in game six.”

Game six in the series will take place in Los Angeles on Friday.

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TAGS: Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, NBA

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