MEMPHIS, Tenn. — LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers knew they would be tired playing their second game in as many nights.
Experience made the difference against the young and rested Memphis Grizzlies.
James scored on a driving layup with 1:30 left to put Los Angeles ahead to stay as the Lakers held off the Grizzlies 109-108 on Saturday night for their seventh straight victory.
“We just kept our composure,” James said. “That’s what we do. We are a very resilient team.”
“I was going to catch it and see if I had time to get a shot off or hit Ja (Morant), who would’ve probably been running full speed right next to me,” Jackson said. “Obviously, we didn’t get to do all that.”
“If we can play like that every night, we have ourselves a chance,” Jenkins said.
The Lakers showed the effects of winning in Oklahoma City on Friday night. James made clear on social media he had trouble getting a nap with their hotel across the street from the FedExForum, where No. 16 Memphis beat Mississippi 87-86 earlier Saturday.
“We’re lucky to get out of here with a win. Credit to the Grizzlies for coming out strong,” said Lakers coach Frank Vogel, who used earplugs to help him rest. “There young guys really came after us, in the first quarter in particular. Morant and Jackson are special talents and they put us in a hole.”
LA never led in the first half and trailed by as much as 15 in the second quarter. The Lakers got going in the third and opened the fourth by jumping out to their biggest lead at 94-87.
The Grizzlies led 105-100 on a tip-in by Brandon Clarke with 3:24 to go. The Lakers scored the next nine with James hitting his layup for the go-ahead bucket, and Davis followed by tipping in James’ miss for a 109-105 lead with 53.5 seconds left.
Morant’s layup with 28 seconds left pulled Memphis within a point. James missed a jumper with the Grizzlies grabbing the rebound to set up the final try.
The Grizzlies lost their third straight on a night they wore their Vancouver teal uniforms for the first time to celebrate their 25th NBA season along with a throwback court.
Memphis led 35-25 after the first quarter and 63-55 at halftime.