Lakers start life without LeBron James, losing to the Memphis Grizzlies

Feb 28, 2023; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) shoots as Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (3) defends during the first half at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 28, 2023; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) shoots as Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (3) defends during the first half at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports /

The Los Angeles Lakers continued their 21 “must-win game” tour taking on the Memphis Grizzlies in the first of their back-to-back set. LeBron James did not play in this game and will not travel to Oklahoma City with the team and will get the start of multiple opinions on his right foot.

Even though the Memphis Grizzlies have maturity issues that have brought them back to Earth in the Western Conference, they still have Ja’ Morant, who still can still do “I believe I can fly” highlights to the point he could take the trademark phrase from R Kelly…

The Lakers tried….really tried but in the second half, the athleticism of Memphis ultimately led to a 121-109 loss. The OKC Thunder is up tomorrow night and a two-game losing streak will eliminate the excitement of the 27-point miracle comeback over Dallas.

Anthony Davis will be a topic of conversation for Lakers casuals if the Lakers start to flounder without LeBron James. Well, there’s a reason why they are called casuals. He finished with 28 points, 19 rebounds (6 offensive!), 5 blocks and at times, the Lakers actually thought this dude was going to anchor the entire defense with at least five Memphis players that can jump out of the gym (More on that later!) and chase Ja’ Morant around too.

The good of the Los Angeles Lakers loss:

Man…the Austin Reaves contract negotiations should start after the game!

Nothing fazes this guy. While everyone else is panicking about the LeBron James injury, he just plays. He dropped 15 points in the first half while doing his best to make plays for his teammates in LeBron’s absence. He had 7 assists for the game.

However, the Lakers need to pull this guy aside and yell…SHOOT! He finished with 17 points. This guy can score more and this team needs him to do so because he might be the most efficient scorer on the team. It’s just he doesn’t show it enough.

Lonnie Walker IV shot well…BUT!

Lonnie Walker IV finished with 21 points but he is a one-dimensional player. Can he sky through the air for nasty dunks? Oh yeah…

The problem is this guy can’t guard a roach with a full can of Raid. Outside of looking for his offense, he does little else. How bad is this for the Lakers? He grabbed 4 rebounds and it would be hard-pressed to remember the last time he got that many. He usually gets one!

The Los Angeles Lakers are committed to compete without LeBron James!

This headline seems like a “DUH” statement but this writer has covered this team a long time. Since 2019, there have been times when the Lakers didn’t even hide the fact that they were quitting (Remember when the Lakers ran a G-League squad out for the last 15 games?). This team is really competing. This game was about the NBA being a guard/wing league and Memphis had the best player in that position.

The bad of the Los Angeles Lakers loss:

LeBron James did not play and this might go on for a lot longer than the media is telling you!

Unless you are Skip Bayless, who has a show that is completely disappearing along with his credibility, LeBron James injured his foot and will be out at least two weeks before an evaluation can be put into play.

By the projections of Lake Show Life, that means he will be out at least a month. This could stretch until the rest of the year based on how many wins the Los Angeles Lakers can stack in his absence. This is a real bummer if you are a Lakers fan. LeBron James was really expanding the cerebral part of his game for this playoff run. Two days ago, this guy was one on the catalysts in the biggest comeback of the season. Now he’s in a walking boot.

There are no reports that LeBron wore the boot to prove to Skip Bayless that he has a hurt foot. Don’t embarrass yourself Skip. Claiming a player is lying about an injury is trifling, unprofessional and tired.

Umm…that Ja’ Morant dude can really play!

Ja’ Morant was kind of coasting in the first half and the Lakers looked like they had enough of a defensive scheme to slow him as they did in Los Angeles.

But that third quarter pretty much was the Ja’ show and the arena enjoyed the performance.

He dropped 28 points in the third quarter on his way to a triple-double stat-line of 39 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. He basically gave energy to his teammates and took the life out of the Lakers.


As a wrestling fan, Stone Cold Steve Austin is rolling over in his grave watching Dillon Brooks roll in the arena like that and only score 7 points!

The story of the Los Angeles Lakers loss:

Darvin Ham needs to find players that will help AD on defense instead of just leaking out!

Yes, the Lakers have to get out and run and push the pace. But the first part of the offense and last part of defense is securing the ball. AD did his part but he’s going to lose his patience if this keeps up!

The guards and wings have to start staying in front of their man and stop easy penetration. This was the problem last year and what sent AD over the edge the season before. Team effort is not about replacing LeBron James on the scoring end, it’s about playing together on both ends of the floor.

Dennis Schroder should be ashamed…

When the game was still in reach, Dennis Schroder couldn’t make a simple lob pass to AD. When it was stolen, Schroder stood by while the Memphis players ran by him for an alley-oop dunk.

The dude either needs an attitude adjustment or bury him on the bench. Six turnovers is ridiculous and when you don’t run back it’s worse.

Now this is why everyone is panicking about LeBron James and his injury.