The Los Angeles Lakers missed the opportunity to wrap up their first-round series against the Memphis Grizzlies.
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The Memphis Grizzlies beat the Los Angeles Lakers 116-99 to hang on to their NBA playoff dreams and force Game 6.
When the Lakers took a 3-1 series lead, it looked like it was game over for this young Grizzlies team.
Head coach Taylor Jenkins had questioned the maturity levels of his players, Dillon Brooks and Ja Morant skipped their post-game media duties, and a self-implosion looked like it could be on the cards, but the Grizzlies responded in style with a brilliant win in front of their fans at the FedExForum.
Desmond Bane scored a game high 33 points to partner his 10 rebounds and shot 4 of 9 from beyond the arc. Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. joined their teammate with double-doubles in a performance where the young core of this Grizzlies team stepped up when most needed.
The Lakers shot just 40.2% from the field and 25.6% from three with LeBron James particularly struggling. James shot just 5-17 from the field with an even worse 1-9 from three-point range as the NBA veteran tried to force the initiative.
“Those guys were spectacular tonight,” Jenkins told reporters. “We’re going to need even better from them in Game 6. These guys definitely played with the force we were talking about before the game.”
Ja Morant delivered for the Memphis Grizzlies in their win or go home playoff game.
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images
James touched on how he will prepare for the remainder of the series with games coming thick and fast, given his Game 5 performance.
“I’ll take care of the body,” the 38-year-old said. “Try to get as much sleep as I can. Seeing how fast the body can recover and get ready for Friday.”
The Grizzlies and the Lakers will play again Friday in Game 6 of their first round playoff series.
Elsewhere in the NBA
Meanwhle Jimmy Butler continued his incredible playoff run as he led the Miami Heat to a first-round upset against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks with a 128-126 win.
The 33-year-old is known for turning it on in the playoffs and delivered yet again – scoring a clutch bucket to force overtime in the series clincher.
Butler has averaged a remarkable 37.6 points during this series and Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra touched on his efforts after the game.
“He’s desperate and urgent and maniacal and sometimes psychotic about the will to try to win,” Spoelstra explained to reporters. “He’ll make everybody in the building feel it. That’s why he is us and we are him.”
Despite being downcast, Antetokounmpo maintained that the Bucks’ season was not a failure despite their dismal exit.
Jimmy Butler came up clutch again for the Miami Heat.
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The New York Knicks also wrapped up their first-round series with a 106-95 win against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
It is the first time in 10 years that the Knicks have advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals and they will now take on the Miami Heat as they look to book a place in the conference finals.
Elsewhere, Steph Curry led the Golden State Warriors to a 3-2 series lead against the Sacramento Kings with a game high 31 points in their 123-116 win.
The two-time MVP had an unusually poor night from three but was able to get to the basket to help his side to a crucial series lead.