NBA Analysts Debate Over LeBron James’ Last Minute Performance Against the Memphis Grizzlies

Published 01/07/2021, 11:45 AM EST
Jan 1, 2021; San Antonio, Texas, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) shoots over San Antonio Spurs guard Keldon Johnson (3) in the second half at the AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports


What should have been an easy win for the Los Angeles Lakers turned into them getting lucky in the last minute. Their first game against the Memphis Grizzlies had a far better outcome than this match. While they won 108-94 before, they actually came inches away from going into overtime in this one. If it weren’t for LeBron James showing up, they might have lost to a team that is standing at the bottom of the table in the West.

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The Grizzlies were short-handed

The Grizzlies were without two of their best players in the game. Jaren Jackson Jr. is sitting out because of a left knee injury, while Ja Morant is also out with an ankle injury. Yet, the reigning champions needed a block and dagger jumper from their superstar, LeBron James.

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Both James and Anthony Davis contributed 26 points to the scoreboard, and 21 of LeBron’s points just belong to the second half.  Despite that, somehow this wasn’t enough to overpower Memphis.

In fact, they were actually trailing behind them with 79-77 with just five minutes left on the clock. However, with two big plays by James and an assist to Davis, they sealed the game with a dunk.

Was LeBron James asleep until halftime?

So, is finishing just two points ahead of a team like Memphis a bad sign for the purple and gold? Well, Shannon Sharpe and Skip Bayless, are once again, butting heads and debating about LeBron’s performance.

Grading his performance, Sharpe said, “An A! He had that thing going last night. You know, in the first half we like to feel things out, get AD and the others involved. But then he’s like: ‘Okay, it’s my time to shine.’ And what did he do? He took it over!”

.@ShannonSharpe on LeBron's performance vs Grizzlies:

"An A! He had that thing going last night. You know in the first half we like to feel things out, get AD and the others involved. But then he's like: 'Okay, it's my time to shine.' And what did he do? He took it over!" pic.twitter.com/MpjdnOM3Dw

— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) January 6, 2021

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As usual, Sharpe was on LeBron’s side, unlike Bayless, who believes he deserves a lower grade for winning against a team that isn’t even close to being a contender. He asserted, “Once LeBron woke up at halftime, he said he went into “attack mode.” It’s pretty easy to go into attack mode when you’re playing a team that is about to be 0-4 at home, with no Jaren Jackson and no Ja Morant.”

Once LeBron woke up at halftime, he said he went into “attack mode.” It’s pretty easy to go into attack mode when you're playing a team that is about to be 0-4 at home, with no Jaren Jackson and no Ja Morant. More @Undisputed, now on FS1 https://t.co/1Kl45Qasor

— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) January 6, 2021

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It can be a little worrying to see the Lakers inches away from losing to the Grizzlies. But every team has its days, and what actually matters is who gets the W added to their tally at the end. So far, the Lakers are at the top in their conference and blood-thirsty for a repeat.

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Yashima Bhatia

1098 articles

Yashima Bhatia is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports who specialises in providing nuanced predictions and updates for matches. She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. Yashima's love for playing the game came up at a young age, when the excitement of the games coupled with the intensity of the Playoffs had her hooked.

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