MEMPHIS — LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers weren’t about to let fatigue get the better of them on the second night of a back-to-back.
We come out, our job is to bring energy regardless of playing back-to-backs or 40 minutes or whatever
The Lakers recovered from a loss Friday night in San Antonio to dominate Memphis, defeating the Grizzlies 111-88 on Saturday, led by 20 points each from James and Kyle Kuzma. James added nine assists and eight rebounds, while Kuzma had nine rebounds, six assists and a couple of blocks.
“At the end of the day, we’re professionals. We come out, our job is to bring energy regardless of playing back-to-backs or 40 minutes or whatever,” said Kuzma, who was among four Lakers starters who played at least 36 minutes in the 133-120 loss to the Spurs.
“You forget about (the loss) and move on,” James said, adding, “You can’t let that harp on us, even though we played three great quarters (against San Antonio). You have to get ready, and that’s what we did.”
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Josh Hart added 16 points apiece, while JaVale McGee finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Wayne Selden led Memphis with 17 points. Mike Conley added 12 points while struggling from the field, shooting 4 of 12 on the night, as Memphis shot 41 percent overall.
Memphis was coming off a win over the Pelicans in New Orleans on Friday.
“We just didn’t have it,” Memphis coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “Early on, we got a little demoralized because we got some open looks, especially in that first quarter. … From that point forward, we just couldn’t dig out of that hole.”
By halftime, the Lakers led 63-40 and were holding Memphis to 43 percent shooting and 26 percent from beyond the arc. Los Angeles’ dominance was particularly evident on the boards where it had a 36-11 advantage.
Not only did the Lakers have more offensive rebounds (14) than Memphis’ total, Tyson Chandler was one shy of matching the Grizzlies with 10 of his own in the half.
Los Angeles expanded the lead to 29 in the third quarter. By the midway point of the fourth, Bickerstaff emptied the bench.
Like the Lakers, Memphis players said they simply have to forget about the lopsided loss.
“We’ve got to bounce back,” reserve forward JaMychal Green said. “We can’t play like this ever again this season. We had enough of those games last season” when Memphis finished 22-60.