The Los Angeles Lakers earned their first win of the season, topping the Memphis Grizzlies 121-118 at home on Sunday night.
Carmelo Anthony led the way with 28 points off the bench as Los Angeles improved to 1-2. Anthony also passed Moses Malone for ninth place on the NBA's all-time scoring list.
Anthony Davis added 22 points and eight rebounds while LeBron James had 19 points.
Ja Morant had 40 points and 10 assists in the loss. He had a chance to force overtime but missed the last of three free throws with 1.9 seconds left in the game as Memphis fell to 2-1 this season.
Notable Player Stats
F Carmelo Anthony, LAL: 28 points
F Anthony Davis, LAL: 22 points, 8 rebounds, 4 blocks
F LeBron James, LAL: 19 points (7-of-19 shooting)
G Russell Westbrook, LAL: 13 points, 13 assists
G Ja Morant:, MEM 40 points, 10 assists
C Steven Adams, MEM: 14 points, 16 rebounds
Carmelo Anthony Turns Back the Clock for Los Angeles
With LeBron James and the rest of the Los Angeles starters having an off night shooting-wise, it was Carmelo Anthony who shouldered most of the scoring load for the Lakers.
Anthony was a spark plug off the bench, with his 28 points coming in 28 minutes on 10-of-15 from the field and 6-of-8 from deep in a vintage performance.
When he signed with Los Angeles this offseason, Anthony was expected to provide a veteran presence and help the team compete for a championship. His hot-shooting performance Sunday came as a surprise.
Anthony leading the Lakers in scoring might be an anomaly, but his performance is still vital to the team's success. If Anthony can continue to shoot efficiently in his time off the bench, it would give the Lakers a reliable scorer who can take the pressure off the starters.
Ja Morant Continues Torrid Start
Despite the loss, Memphis can take solace in the fact that Ja Morant's start to the season is no fluke. Morant has now had three straight games with at least 28 points and he has shot over 50 percent from the field in each of them.
The Lakers had no answer for Morant, who had it going from the outside and made some highlights at the rim. He went 5-for-7 from three-point range Sunday.
Morant is one of the brightest young stars in the NBA, and Sunday's performance was further proof of that. After back-to-back strong games against the Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday, Morant has proved that he can go toe-to-toe the best players in the league.
Consistency is key for Morant, who has had poor shooting performances throughout his first two seasons in the league. If he can continue to score with efficiency while distributing to his teammates, Morant could reach an All-Star level this year.
Memphis is hoping to take the next step this season after losing in the first round of the 2021 playoffs. With Morant leading the way, the Grizzlies could be a surprise team to make a postseason run this year.
The Lakers will look to keep the momentum going when they travel to take on the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday. The Grizzlies will get a couple of days of rest and will return to action in a road matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday.