There were plenty of fireworks off of the court leading up to Saturday's Game 3 between the Los Angeles Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies, but very little of it translated to the game itself. The Lakers blitz the Grizzlies for a 35-9 first-quarter demolition. The Grizzlies fought back to make things somewhat competitive down the stretch, but a Laker victory was never seriously in doubt, and they ultimately closed out the Grizzlies, 111-101.
Now the Grizzlies are on the defensive. They went a disappointing 16-25 on the road this season, and now they need at least one road victory to win this series. The Lakers can take a commanding 3-1 lead on Monday, and while that wouldn't close out the series, it would put them in great shape to advance to the second round at some point in the next week. Here's everything you need to know leading up to Game 4.
(2) Memphis Grizzlies vs. (7) Los Angeles Lakers
- Date: Monday, April 24 | Time: 10 p.m. ET
- Location: Crypto.com Arena -- Los Angeles, California
- TV channel: TNT
- Odds: Lakers -4.5; O/U 220.5 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Lakers: LeBron James and Anthony Davis have held up their end of the bargain in this series, but the real story thus far has been the emergence of their young role players. Austin Reaves closed out Game 1 with a 14-point fourth quarter. Rui Hachimura is making two-thirds of his field goal attempts. Even D'Angelo Russell got in on the fun Saturday with 17 big points in the victory. These are the players the Lakers will need if they plan to make a serious push at the Western Conference crown. How will they respond to a desperate opponent? We'll find out on Monday.
Grizzlies: So... does Dillon Brooks ever plan to back up his mountain of trash talk? He's defended James well across parts of three games, but he himself is shooting a pathetic 13-of-40 from the field against the Lakers. His Game 3 ejection put the already thin Grizzlies in an even more precarious position in regards to their depth. Brooks is a free agent after the season. Right now, he's not exactly endearing himself to his teammates or organization with his antics. Can he turn things around? Or will the Lakers " ," as he'd hoped to do to James?
James can smell blood in the water. The Lakers did the hard part when they won Game 1 on the road. Now they only need to take care of business at home to end this series and advance to the second round. Waiting for them there will be the exhausted remnants of either the Golden State Warriors or Sacramento Warriors, who are currently embroiled in an exhausting, likely seven-game war that should leave the victor in a difficult position even after advancing. This is a golden opportunity for the Lakers, so expect them to come out aggressively in Game 4 hoping to put this one away as quickly as possible like they did in Game 3. The Pick: Lakers -4.5