Memphis Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins says he relishes a test. Jenkins and the Grizzlies are expected to encounter a stiff one when they face LeBron James and the red-hot Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday in Memphis.
"He's obviously one of the greatest in the history (of the NBA), they're the best team in the NBA right now, so it's an exciting challenge," Jenkins said. "Every night is a great challenge for us. ... It's going to be a huge challenge for us and I think our guys will come prepared after two days of really focusing on ourselves and be able to take on the Lakers on Saturday."
Memphis will need to perform considerably better than it did in its last outing. On Tuesday, the Grizzlies were embarrassed at home in a 114-95 setback to the injury-plagued Golden State Warriors, who ended a seven-game skid. Ja Morant had 20 points on 7-of-20 shooting and six assists for the Grizzlies, who dropped their second in a row after a three-game winning streak.
"We missed shots at the beginning and then we got down on ourselves," said Brooks, the club's second-leading scorer at 13.7 points per contest. "We can't do that as a young group, we cannot do that. We've just got to be confident and continue playing freely."
The free-wheeling Morant, the second pick of the 2019 NBA Draft, is averaging a team-high 18.5 points and seven assists per game. He is shooting 46 percent from the floor.
Although they will be playing the second game of back-to-back contests, the Lakers have been on a roll. They recorded a 130-127 decision at the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday for their sixth consecutive victory and their 13th in 14 games. Los Angeles has captured five of six road contests.
Anthony Davis finished with 33 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists, while LeBron James had 23 points, 14 assists and six boards. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 17 points for the Lakers.
Davis converted 9 of 19 shots from the floor and hit all 11 of his free throws.
"I worked a lot on putting myself on the line for situations like that," said Davis, who made four free throws down the stretch to clinch the win, according to the Los Angeles Times. "It's just going out there and knowing your routine. Just being up there, being poised and have the confidence to make your shot."
Los Angeles forced 23 Oklahoma City turnovers while committing 15. The Lakers also hit 17 of 31 3-pointers (54.8 percent) compared to 11 of 31 (35.5 percent) for the Thunder.
The game against the Grizzlies will be the second of a four-game road swing for the Lakers. On Monday, they visit the San Antonio Spurs before capping the trip Wednesday against the New Orleans Pelicans.
The latter will be the first matchup between the two clubs since the offseason trade that sent Davis to the Lakers for Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and three first-round picks to the Pelicans.
Memphis reserve guard Grayson Allen is listed as probable to return after sustaining a left ankle injury Nov. 2 against the Phoenix Suns.
--Field Level Media