The Crypto.com Arena Court was not a place for the faint of heart on a Monday night.
The Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies resumed hostilities in Game 4 of an increasingly controversial first-round playoff series, with bodies flying around the court at breakneck speeds and every possession contested as if it were the last game of the 2022-23 season. .
The customary 48 minutes of LeBron James sending the game into overtime with a driving layup after the Grizzlies’ Desmond Bain put his team ahead with a layup of 6.7 wasn’t enough to decide the game. seconds left.
James then sealed the deal in OT with a driving layup, screamer, and flex as the Lakers took a hard-earned 117-111 win and a team-leading 22 points last to take a 3-1 series lead. His basket drove a sold-out crowd of 18,997 into a frenzy with 29.4 seconds remaining.
James recorded the first 20 rebounds of his career, becoming the first Laker since Shaquille O’Neal on June 13, 2004 to record 20 points and 20 rebounds in a playoff game. The top scorer in NBA history had seven assists and two blocked shots while committing just one turnover in his record-breaking 270th playoff game. James went 8-for-18 from the field but went 1-for-7 from the 3-point range.
Game 5 will be held at the FedEx Forum in Memphis on Wednesday. If required, Game 6 will be held on Friday night at the Crypto.com Arena.
“I dig deep and understand that one day I’ll be able to sleep. Not now,” James said of his willingness to win Game 4. “This is not the time to take a break or forget about assignments. We have plenty of time to relax after the game and the next day, so we try to dig deep.”
When asked if he was surprised, James thought for a moment before replying.
“okay.” He said.
When asked when, “It was the first time when my colleagues said 20 (points) and 20 (rebounds), and I said there were 20, 20 (rebounds). I’ve done pretty cool things in my career, but I don’t have 20, 20 before, so I think it’s pretty cool.”
Also, James had not one but two charges against Grizzlies’ Ja Morant in the fourth quarter, as the Lakers seemed separated at times before rallying behind three 3-pointers from D’Angelo Russell on a three-straight trip. Russell sent the Lakers to a 99-97 lead that was all too short.
But the Lakers’ victory was by no means a one-man show.
Austin Reaves scored a team-leading 23 points and Russell scored 17 points. Jarred Vanderbilt scored 10 of 15 points in the first quarter. Anthony Davis had 12 points (5 OT) and 11 rebounds while Dennis Schroeder added 12 points and relentless defensive pressure for Morant in a reserve role.
“Other players had to step in and step in,” said Lakers manager Davin Hamm, who has won 12 out of 15 games since the regular season. “We saw LeBron and his last performance and did everything on the other side of the ball. A big shout out to D’Angelo Russell. I mean, we were faltering offensively at best and he was able to ignite, and hey, he put us on the offensive back and in a position to have a chance to close the gap. . We can’t win this game if D-Lo doesn’t play the way he played.”
Bain led the Grizzlies with 36 points on 13-for-29 shooting. Morant scored 19 points in one game after torching the Lakers with 45 points in Game 3 on Saturday. Jaren Jackson Jr. had 14 points and 14 rebounds and was mostly neutralized by Davis and his Lakers teammates as the game got tight late on.
Bane gave the Grizzlies a 97–90 lead just past the halfway point of the fourth quarter, but Russell got hot and the Lakers rushed to a 99–97 lead. Later, after Morant made one of two free throws with 1:04 left in regulation, Reaves ran for the tying basket to make it 102-all.
Memphis took a 104-102 lead on Bane’s layup with 6.7 seconds left. James then delivered a driving layup past Jackson’s outstretched arm to tie the game with 0.8 seconds remaining. The Lakers never trailed in OT after Davis and James each had layups on their first two possessions.
Davis said of James, “He just took the extension line.” “I got a bucket for overtime. … It was good teamwork from all of our team members.”
James’ layup with 29.4 left made it 113-108.
He screamed and bent over as the sellout crowd roared.