Tim McMahonESPN staff writer4 minutes to read
Memphis – Desmond Bean backed his previous announcement and made another.
Two nights after promising the Memphis Grizzlies would avoid elimination, Payne cruised to a 116-99 Game 5 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday, scoring 33 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing out five assists. Bane then secured the Grizzlies’ return to FedExForum, where they had the best domestic record in the NBA that season.
“We got to the right edge and the right road mentality, but I said it there and I’ll say it again,” Bean said. “We’re going back for Game 7 in front of the best fans in the NBA.”
Ja Morant also had an impressive winning performance with 31 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.
“These guys were amazing tonight,” said Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins. “We will need more and better of them in the sixth game.”
The Grizzlies are 0-16 this season as underdogs on the road, including losses in Games 3 and 4. Morant wryly referenced recent criticism of him when asked what it would take for the Grizzlies to win in Los Angeles to avoid being eliminated again.
“Being a leader, being prepared for this pillar, everyone else has made me better,” Morant said.
The status of one of the players who sealed the Grizzlies’ series-extending victory is uncertain in Game 6 on Friday in Los Angeles. Backup guard Luke Kennard was knocked out for the win early in the fourth quarter after sustaining an injury to his left (shooting) shoulder in a collision when he was checked.
said Kennard, who had the best score of the game (plus-26 in 17 minutes) despite only attempting three shots.
Jenkins adjusted his turnover by replacing running back small forward Dillon Brooks with Kennard with 8:15 left in the third quarter, solving the Grizzlies’ spacing problems. The Grizzlies responded by outscoring the Lakers by 13 points remaining in the quarter to take the lead.
Brooks, who was 3 of 15 from the ground, did not return to the game until after Kennard was injured.
“I was just open-minded to see what the match would show us,” said Jenkins. “It was a win-or-go home situation. I just wanted to try different things. DB came back in the fourth quarter. Just having Luke up there with Des and those two guys together was really good for us and obviously if Luke doesn’t get that stung, who knows what else.” Was it going to happen in the fourth quarter?”
Brooks shoots 30.3% for the floor and 21.6% for the series. Fans groaned over and over as he kicked the ball during the fifth game.
“It was tough,” said Brooks, who hit 31.6% from the floor in the West Semifinals last season when the Golden State Warriors eliminated the Grizzlies. “I’m used to a certain level of myself, but I just stick with it and one of those games I’m going to go in for three or four seconds and change the game.”
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