LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeBron James scored 32 points, Anthony Davis recovered from an early injury scare to get 28 points and 13 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Lakers returned from the All-Star break with a 117-105 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night.
Avery Bradley added 14 points for the Western Conference-leading Lakers, who finished strong after blowing most of their 25-point lead accumulated in a superb first half. Davis had 14 points and seven rebounds in the fourth quarter as Los Angeles improved to 42-12 with its fourth straight win since Feb. 6.
Josh Jackson scored a season-high 20 points for the Grizzlies, who have lost back-to-back games in California after heading into the All-Star break with eight wins in 10. Ja Morant added 17 points as Memphis dropped to 0-2 on its four-game West Coast trip, which matches its longest road stretch of the season.
Davis departed less than two minutes after the opening tip when he bruised his right calf on an opponent’s knee. The All-Star went to the locker room and missed the rest of the first quarter, but returned early in the second before scoring 24 points in the second half.
Although James, Davis and Dwight Howard were busy in Chicago over the break, the Lakers returned with impressive defensive focus across the roster. Los Angeles held Memphis to 15-for-38 shooting and forced 11 turnovers in the first half to jump to a 19-point lead.
The Grizzlies trimmed the lead to four points early in the fourth quarter with a prolonged surge. The Lakers hung on with a series of big plays, including a jaw-dropping rebound dunk by Alex Caruso off a missed free throw by Davis with 6:16 to play.
James clinched it with a driving layup followed by a gorgeous fadeaway jumper with 1:12 left. Davis then hit his second 3-pointer in the final minute.
The Lakers improved to 3-0 against the Grizzlies this season. They meet again in Memphis on Feb. 29.
Grizzlies: Memphis signed G Dusty Hannahs to a 10-day contract before the game. He leads the Grizzlies’ G League affiliate with 21.3 points per game this season, and he appeared in two games for Memphis earlier this season. … Gorgui Dieng had 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Lakers: Coach Frank Vogel and the team declined to comment on multiple reports claiming the team will release center DeMarcus Cousins to clear a roster spot. Cousins hasn’t played for the Lakers after signing with them in July and tearing a ligament in his knee in August, but he had been rehabbing with hopes of returning for the playoffs. Cousins was in the Lakers’ locker room before the game, but didn’t sit with the team on the bench as usual.
The game against the Clippers that was postponed by Kobe Bryant’s death will be made up April 9. The NBA also rescheduled two additional Lakers games, and the moves mean they’ll have to play at home on three consecutive nights in early April, just one week before the start of the postseason.
“We may stagger some of the guys that play,” Vogel said. “Some guys may not play in all three games. We’ll have those conversations as we get closer to those games and see what the standings look like.”
Grizzlies: Stay in town to face the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday.
Lakers: Host the Boston Celtics on Sunday.
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