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LeBron James' Lakers Thrill NBA Twitter With 'Best Win' of Season vs. Grizzlies

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 21, 2023

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 20: LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on during the game against the Memphis Grizzlies on January 20, 2023 at Crypto.Com Arena in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2023 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Behind another strong effort from LeBron James, the Los Angeles Lakers secured what was perhaps a season-defining win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday.

L.A. trailed by four at halftime and eight after three quarters, but the team stormed back in the final frame to secure a 122-121 victory at home.

Guard Dennis SchrΓΆder was the hero for the Lakers, as he made a pair of free throws with 13 seconds remaining to cut the deficit to one before stealing the ball from Grizzlies guard Desmond Bane and making the winning basket and free throw with 7.1 seconds left:

Los Angeles Lakers @Lakers

Game-winning steal *and* the game-winning score. <br><br>Take a bow, Dennis SchrΓΆder. <a href="https://t.co/ALOBaq6XJN">pic.twitter.com/ALOBaq6XJN</a>

LeBron finished with 23 points, nine rebounds, six assists and a game-best plus-nine rating, while Russell Westbrook led all scorers with 29 points off the bench.

The win improved L.A.'s record to 21-25 and got it out of a funk that saw it lose four of its previous five games. It was also a win over the No. 2 team in the Western Conference, prompting Lakers fans and observers to herald it as a massive, potentially trajectory-changing victory:

Colb @___Colb___

Easily the best win of the Lakers season to this point.

Rob Perez @WorldWideWob

This is the win that turns around the Lakers season.

Trevor Lane @Trevor_Lane

Beyond just the W on their record (important), winning a game like this can help the morale of the team. Had to be frustration after losing so many close ones

LeBron Fact Check @LeBronFactCheck

Lakers beat the #2 seed Grizzlies and ended their franchise best winning streak with no AD, Reaves, Walker, and lebron having an off game <a href="https://t.co/kp0SbaeWyr">pic.twitter.com/kp0SbaeWyr</a>

NBA on ESPN @ESPNNBA

Lakers fans after snapping the Grizzlies' 11-game win streak: <a href="https://t.co/NmzoF7izCV">pic.twitter.com/NmzoF7izCV</a>

pickuphoop @pickuphoop

The Lakers are 7-4 in their last 11 games. All without AD. Three of the losses involving controversial no-calls.

Josiah Johnson @KingJosiah54

How the Lakers stole the game from the Grizzlies <a href="https://t.co/fZzabiRZZF">pic.twitter.com/fZzabiRZZF</a>

Janet @janet_garcia92

How I'm going to sleep after the Lakers win a close game and break Memphis' 11 game winning streak πŸ’œ <a href="https://t.co/977trj5nxL">pic.twitter.com/977trj5nxL</a>

Mark Jackson's Burner @casualtakeking

Grizzlies do not want to see lakers in the first round with all due respect

The Lakers still have a ton of work to do to get themselves into championship contention, but Friday's win could serve as the ultimate springboard.

Los Angeles is 13th in the Western Conference, but since things are so bunched up, that leaves it just one game out of 10th, which is the final postseason play-in spot. The Lakers are also only two games out of sixth, which is the last non-play-in position.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Anthony Davis could return from his foot injury as early as next week, which would be a massive addition for the Lakers.

With James and Westbrook both playing great basketball and the return of a superstar big man on the horizon, the Lakers suddenly look like one of the most dangerous teams in the NBA.

Also, general manager Rob Pelinka has resisted making any trades thus far, but if the Lakers can hang in there until the Feb. 9 deadline, there may be some reinforcements on the way as well.

The Lakers are only three seasons removed from winning a championship, and while the subsequent two seasons were major disappointments, they are showing signs of life.

A healthy trio of James, Davis and Westbrook with a few more pieces added is a potentially scary proposition for the Western Conference, and on Friday against the Grizzlies, the Lakers showed they can beat one of the West's best even at less than full strength.