Dennis Schroder, the comeback hero of the great Lakers vs. Grizzlies

Dennis Schroder snuck up from behind, slapped the ball unfastened and received the steal — maybe the most important cease of the Lakers season.

The layup and the free throw that adopted – that was perhaps even greater.

Undermanned and, properly, simply undermanned in opposition to the towering Memphis Grizzlies, the Lakers absorbed each push from the most effective groups within the west.

However they by no means buckled. And when a possible Brandon Clarke free throw bounced off the rim, the Lakers did the unlikely.

One way or the other, on an evening when LeBron James struggled and the Grizzlies appeared to be catching each potential rebound, the Lakers left the ground victorious, beating Memphis 122-121 and ending their 11-game successful streak.

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A take a look at Lebron JamesMonitoring Kareem Abdul Jabbar for the all-time scoring file.

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“A rattling good recreation,” stated Lakers coach Darvin Ham.

The win caps an eventful dwelling stretch during which the Lakers misplaced shut video games to Dallas, Philadelphia and Sacramento whereas taking part in with out Anthony Davis, Lonnie Walker IV and Austin Reaves.

The one different win got here in opposition to Houston.

“We confirmed what we are able to do and what we are able to do,” Ham stated.

However Friday’s recreation embodied a lot of Ham’s message over the previous eight days – hold working, hold combating and a breakthrough will come.

Russell Westbrook scored 29, LeBron James struggled for 23 and Schroder completed with 19, eight rebounds and eight assists.

Memphis received 22 factors from Ja Morant however he wanted 29 photographs — the Lakers stopped him when he tried to make an important shot whereas Westbrook was defending.

“I do know I am an excellent defender,” Westbrook stated.

Lakers guard Russell Westbrook tries to get past in front of Memphis Grizzlies center Steven Adams.

Lakers guard Russell Westbrook makes an attempt to get previous Memphis Grizzlies middle Steven Adams (left) through the first half Friday.

(Harry How/Getty Pictures)

The win comes as extra excellent news might be on the way in which.

The Lakers can faux to stay coy, making an attempt to remove among the time strain and limiting the potential for disappointment ought to there be a setback.

However all indicators continued to level to an eventual Davis return subsequent week – an important step for the group because it tries to settle its future.

In line with sources with data of the plan, ought to Davis stay pain-free in his rehabilitation from a trio of foot illnesses, he would return to court docket in Los Angeles subsequent week earlier than the Lakers embark on a five-game journey in opposition to the Celtics. Nets, Knicks, Pacers and Pelicans.

The Lakers haven’t publicly set a timeline for Davis’ return.

If he returns, the Lakers should acquire essential floor, good groups come into the Lakers’ dwelling court docket and go away with slender wins. However Friday’s victory over the Grizzlies confirmed the Lakers may overcome the hump in opposition to high competitors.

The Lakers stayed with the Grizzlies after Memphis broke out after a super-slow first quarter, however the NBA’s greatest protection choked the Lakers and made each basketball look deserved.

With out Davis, Memphis loved the offensive glass and outscored the Lakers 39-22 on second likelihood factors.

It may have – in all probability may have – meant a loss. As a substitute, it meant momentum.

Davis missed 18 video games with a mix of foot accidents, together with a bone spur and a stress response in his proper foot. Earlier than his harm, he was averaging 27.4 factors, 12.1 rebounds, 1.3 steals and a pair of.1 blocks. With out Davis this season, the Lakers are 9-12.

Forward of the sport, Ham wouldn’t describe Davis’ restoration plan aside from that he was scheduled for a “1v0 observe session” on Saturday.

“He reacted properly. Superb,” Ham stated in prayer. “He is making progress as anticipated with the plan that has been put in place and he is not off course.”

Getting Davis again — and preserving him on the court docket — ought to give the Lakers some readability as they head in the direction of the Feb. 9 commerce deadline and take a look at to determine simply how aggressive to be.

“We’ve got maintained all through the method that there is no such thing as a timetable.” Ham stated pray me. “And we simply throw various things at him.”

The Lakers ought to have information on Walker IV shortly as his knee is reevaluated on Saturday. Reaves, who’s out with a hamstring harm, is because of be re-evaluated in every week, Ham stated, saying Walker is nearer to a return.

The Lakers and the Grizzlies performed a bodily half of basketball that almost stretched into the half. Grizzlies gamers confronted former NFL tight finish and Fox Sports activities host Shannon Sharpe at halftime. Sharpe then had an argument with Tee Morant, Ja Morant’s father.

Sharpe was escorted to the again by safety earlier than returning to his pitchside seat for the second half. Tee Morant and Sharpe embraced earlier than the beginning of the fourth quarter.

The battle on the court docket, particularly on the observe, was even fiercer – the Lakers had been outsized and overpowered as they clawed at each unfastened ball.

And after they wanted one factor most – a cease and in the end a win – they received it.

“You do not know you possibly can if you cannot,” Ham stated. “…It is a great distance for our spirit, our mentality and our togetherness.”