Lakers crush Grizzlies to advance

LOS ANGELES: The Los Angeles Lakers punched their ticket to the NBA Western Conference semifinals in emphatic style Friday (Saturday in Manila), mauling the Memphis Grizzlies, 125-85, to win their first-round series 4-2.

LeBron James and the Lakers will have to wait to see who they'll face in the Western Conference semifinals after the Sacramento Kings fended off elimination, beating the NBA champion Golden State Warriors, 118-99, to force a Game 7 in their series.

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers passes against Dillon Brooks of the Memphis Grizzlies in the first half in Game 6 of the Western Conference First Round Playoffs at Arena on Friday, April 28, 2023 (Saturday in Manila), in Los Angeles, California. AFP PHOTO

The Lakers, who earned the Western Conference seventh seed via the play-in tournament, rebounded with vengeance after failing to lock up the series in Memphis on Wednesday.

They dominated in every facet in one of their best performances of an often rocky season, thrilling a crowd at Arena that included 86-year-old Oscar-winning actor Jack Nicholson.

Nicholson, a Lakers' fan for decades, was in his courtside seat for the first time since last season's opener in October 2021.

D'Angelo Russell led the Lakers with 31 points. James finished with 22 points and six assists, and Anthony Davis had 16 points and 14 rebounds.

After they “let one go” in Memphis, Davis said, the Lakers weren't about to miss another chance on their home floor.

“We came out with energy,” Davis told ESPN in an on-court interview. “Our crowd was into it. We came out with a sense of urgency that we're not going to let them guys come in here and force a game seven.

“We just came out with that mindset of ending it today.”

The Lakers dominated every facet. They outscored the Grizzlies 52-32 in the paint and 24-14 on the fast break.

They out-rebounded the Grizzlies, 52-45, and had 20 second-chance points to Memphis' nine.

They held Morant to 10 points on 3-of-16 shooting, with Santi Aldama leading the Grizzlies with 16 points off the bench.

Grizzlies guard Desmond Bane added 15.

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