NBA: Lakers moved to 8th in the standings while Grizzlies seal a playoff berth 

Lakers moved to .500 as they just one game away from Warriors in 6th place as Grizzlies clinched the Southwest Division

(Basketball news) The Los Angeles Lakers got a crucial win over the Oklahoma City Thunder as they beat them 116-111. For the Lakers, Anthony Davis had 37 points and 14 rebounds, Dennis Schröder added 13 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter as Lonnie Walker scored 20 points in an impressive return to the rotation. The Lakers won their third straight game to move even with Minnesota in seventh place in the Western Conference standings despite the injury absences of LeBron James and D’Angelo Russell.

For the OKC, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey scored 27 points. The Thunder with a record of 36-38 dropped into a tie with Dallas for 10th in the West despite holding the Lakers to only 42 points in the second half. Russell sat out with a sore right hip, joining James on the sideline at an important game for the Lakers’ playoff hopes. Los Angeles still improved to 8-5 during James’ latest injury absence.

“It was a must-win game for us,” said Davis, who made 15 of his 21 shots. “We had to come out and get this game, and we came out offensive and defensive just playing extremely well. … We’ve got to .500, and now it’s time to get on the other side.”

“This team is locked in and connected,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said. “The vibe and the spirit have been great. Guys are really trying to figure out how we can be better. That’s what you want. … Guys are competing because they know what they’re representing. They know the history of the franchise they’re representing.”

“That’s a testament to our ability to scrap and hang in there,” Oklahoma City coach Mark Daigneault said. “That’s how you want teams to score against you. All the things they got down the stretch are things we’re willing to live with. It’s hard to slow that down.”

“I’ve just been in the gym, being positive and focused on what we’re trying to accomplish,” Walker said. “I love these guys, and I’m fortunate to play with them.”

The Memphis Grizzlies sealed a playoff berth as they crushed the Houston Rockets 151-114. For the Grizzlies, Luke Kennard made a franchise-record 10 3-pointers to match his career high with 30 points, Desmond Bane added 25 points as Ja Morant scored 18 points and had eight assists in his second game after serving an eight-game league-imposed suspension. Jaren Jackson Jr. also scored 18 points and had seven rebounds and two blocks, which was the second-most points in franchise history.

The Grizzlies won their 11th straight at home and moved within three games of Denver, which holds the top spot in the Western Conference. For the Rockets, Tari Eason had 21 points while Kevin Porter Jr. and Jabari Smith Jr. each had 20 as Porter also had seven assists and six rebounds.

“When you start hitting a couple in a row, usually about three for me, I start feeling it a little bit,” Kennard said. “It’s the kind of thing where once it leaves your hand, you think it’s going in. So, it was pretty fun.”

“We weren’t physical with them. They were physical with us,” Rockets coach Stephen Silas said. “We were just letting them run around wherever they wanted. Obviously, Kennard got going and we were just late (defending the 3-point line).”

Also read: NBA: Cavs get a last minute winner over the Nets while Clippers get an emphatic victory OKC


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