For the better part of three quarters on Wednesday, the Los Angeles Lakers looked like they had a real chance at closing out the Memphis Grizzlies on the road in Game 5. With around four-and-a-half minutes remaining, the Lakers had trimmed a 17-point lead down to just one and had all of the momentum. And then, they got hit with an avalanche. Seven minutes of game time later, the Grizzlies were up by 25. Elimination averted.

Now the pressure is back on the Lakers. They've won their two home games in this series, and if they take care of business on Friday, they'll advance to the second round. Here's everything you need to know as they try to do just that.

(2) Memphis Grizzlies vs. (7) Los Angeles Lakers

  • Date: Friday, April 26 | Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
  • Location: Crypto.com Arena -- Los Angeles, California
  • TV channel: ESPN
  • Odds: Lakers -4.5; O/U 219.5 (via Caesars Sportsbook)


Lakers: LeBron James is quietly having one of the worst playoff series of his career. Through five games, he is averaging just 22.2 points per game and shooting a dreadful 16.7% from behind the arc. He's picked up the slack as a defender and rebounder, but the Lakers badly need him to score if they are going to make a deep playoff run. Is this age? Is it the lingering effects of his foot injury? Or is he just waiting to erupt? Game 6 will be our biggest hint yet. James hasn't lost a home closeout game since 2006. This is his stage. We'll see if he can still make the most of it.

Grizzlies: Can Luke Kennard play after suffering a shoulder injury in Game 5? With Dillon Brooks shooting a pathetic 30.3% from the field in this series, he might have to. The Grizzlies have dominated the minutes Kennard has played in this series and have been beaten with Brooks in the game instead. A healthy Kennard had made a compelling case to start Game 6. But without knowing if he can play, it's hard to know what kind of chance the Grizzlies really have at extending this series.


The Grizzlies were the NBA's best home team this season. They are now 16-27 on the road. They entered this series with several injuries and have only picked up more of them along the way. It was a valiant effort stretching this thing to six, but the Lakers should end it on Friday. The Pick: Lakers -4.5