The Memphis Grizzlies currently boast one of the youngest, most talented rosters in the NBA. Ja Morant, their superstar point guard, seems destined to lead Memphis to many successful playoffs runs in the next decade. While many believed that last season would be the one where Morant’s Grizzlies broke through into being a championship contender, their momentum was halted in the playoffs by the Los Angeles Lakers. Yet, this wasn’t just a normal playoff series from LeBron James’ Lakers. After some disrespectful words were said by select players on the Grizzlies, the Lakers made their playoff matchup with Memphis personal — and the result was a series that Memphis is eager to get vengeance for; perhaps as soon as the 2023-24 regular season.
In this article, we’ll discuss the head to head history between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Memphis Grizzlies, note where their shared contempt in the 2023 stemmed from, break down how their First Round matchup in last year’s playoffs went, and predict how these teams will fare in 2023-24.
Grizzlies vs Lakers Head to Head History
The Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Lakers have played each other a total of 108 games (102 of which have been during the regular season, with the other 6 occurring in the playoffs). The Lakers hold the edge in the all-time series, 67-41. In the playoffs, the Lakers also hold a 4-2 edge.
Memphis and Los Angeles first played each other November 17, 1995, when the Lakers beat the Vancouver Grizzlies (Vancouver being the Grizzlies’ first location) by a score of 114-91. The most recent matchup between these two teams came on April 28, 2023, when the Lakers beat the Grizzlies 125-95.
The longest win streak within these two teams’ history is when the Lakers defeated the Grizzlies 12 straight times, from November 17, 1995, to April 8, 1998.
Here is a look at the 2022-23 season to the 2010-11 season NBA Regular Season for games between the Grizzlies and Lakers
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Los Angeles Lakers Game Log
|Game||Date||Home Team||Away Team||Result||Score||Streak||Head-to-Head LAL – MEM|
|102||Mar 7, 2023||Los Angeles Lakers||Memphis Grizzlies||W||112-103||Lakers won 1||63 – 39|
|101||Feb 28, 2023||Los Angeles Lakers||Memphis Grizzlies||L||109-121||Grizzlies won 1||62 – 39|
|100||Jan 20, 2023||Los Angeles Lakers||Memphis Grizzlies||W||122-121||Lakers won 1||62 – 38|
|99||Jan 9, 2022||Los Angeles Lakers||Memphis Grizzlies||L||119-127||Grizzlies won 3||61 – 38|
|98||Dec 29, 2021||Los Angeles Lakers||Memphis Grizzlies||L||99-104||Grizzlies won 2||61 – 37|
|97||Dec 9, 2021||Los Angeles Lakers||Memphis Grizzlies||L||95-108||Grizzlies won 1||61 – 36|
|96||Oct 24, 2021||Los Angeles Lakers||Memphis Grizzlies||W||121-118||Lakers won 4||61 – 35|
|95||Feb 12, 2021||Los Angeles Lakers||Memphis Grizzlies||W||115-105||Lakers won 3||60 – 35|
|94||Jan 5, 2021||Los Angeles Lakers||Memphis Grizzlies||W||94-92||Lakers won 2||59 – 35|
|93||Jan 3, 2021||Los Angeles Lakers||Memphis Grizzlies||W||108-94||Lakers won 1||58 – 35|
|92||Feb 29, 2020||Los Angeles Lakers||Memphis Grizzlies||L||88-105||Grizzlies won 1||57 – 35|
|91||Feb 21, 2020||Los Angeles Lakers||Memphis Grizzlies||W||117-105||Lakers won 3||57 – 34|
|90||Nov 23, 2019||Los Angeles Lakers||Memphis Grizzlies||W||109-108||Lakers won 2||56 – 34|
|89||Oct 29, 2019||Los Angeles Lakers||Memphis Grizzlies||W||120-91||Lakers won 1||55 – 34|
|88||Feb 25, 2019||Los Angeles Lakers||Memphis Grizzlies||L||105-110||Grizzlies won 2||54 – 34|
|87||Dec 23, 2018||Los Angeles Lakers||Memphis Grizzlies||L||99-107||Grizzlies won 1||54 – 33|
|86||Dec 8, 2018||Los Angeles Lakers||Memphis Grizzlies||W||111-88||Lakers won 2||54 – 32|
|85||Mar 24, 2018||Los Angeles Lakers||Memphis Grizzlies||W||100-93||Lakers won 1||53 – 32|
|84||Jan 15, 2018||Los Angeles Lakers||Memphis Grizzlies||L||114-123||Grizzlies won 2||52 – 32|
|83||Dec 27, 2017||Los Angeles Lakers||Memphis Grizzlies||L||99-109||Grizzlies won 1||52 – 31|
|82||Nov 5, 2017||Los Angeles Lakers||Memphis Grizzlies||W||107-102||Lakers won 3||52 – 30|
|81||Apr 2, 2017||Los Angeles Lakers||Memphis Grizzlies||W||108-103||Lakers won 2||51 – 30|
|80||Mar 3, 2017||Los Angeles Lakers||Memphis Grizzlies||W||122-110||Lakers won 1||50 – 30|
|79||Jan 3, 2017||Los Angeles Lakers||Memphis Grizzlies||L||116-121||Grizzlies won 7||49 – 30|
|78||Dec 3, 2016||Los Angeles Lakers||Memphis Grizzlies||L||100-103||Grizzlies won 6||49 – 29|
|77||Feb 24, 2016||Los Angeles Lakers||Memphis Grizzlies||L||119-128||Grizzlies won 5||49 – 28|
|76||Jan 15, 2016||Los Angeles Lakers||Memphis Grizzlies||L||84-109||Grizzlies won 4||49 – 27|
|75||Mar 6, 2015||Los Angeles Lakers||Memphis Grizzlies||L||97-97||Grizzlies won 3||49 – 26|
|74||Nov 26, 2014||Los Angeles Lakers||Memphis Grizzlies||L||93-99||Grizzlies won 2||49 – 25|
|73||Nov 11, 2014||Los Angeles Lakers||Memphis Grizzlies||L||102-107||Grizzlies won 1||49 – 24|
|72||Apr 13, 2014||Los Angeles Lakers||Memphis Grizzlies||L||90-102||Grizzlies won 3||49 – 23|
|71||Feb 26, 2014||Los Angeles Lakers||Memphis Grizzlies||L||103-108||Grizzlies won 2||49 – 22|
|70||Dec 17, 2013||Los Angeles Lakers||Memphis Grizzlies||W||96-92||Lakers won 1||49 – 21|
|69||Apr 5, 2013||Los Angeles Lakers||Memphis Grizzlies||W||86-84||Lakers won 3||48 – 21|
|68||Jan 23, 2013||Los Angeles Lakers||Memphis Grizzlies||W||106-93||Lakers won 2||47 – 21|
|67||Nov 23, 2012||Los Angeles Lakers||Memphis Grizzlies||L||98-106||Grizzlies won 1||46 – 21|
|66||Mar 13, 2012||Los Angeles Lakers||Memphis Grizzlies||W||116-111||Lakers won 3||46 – 20|
|65||Jan 8, 2012||Los Angeles Lakers||Memphis Grizzlies||W||90-82||Lakers won 2||45 – 20|
|64||Dec 20, 2011||Los Angeles Lakers||Memphis Grizzlies||L||85-86||Grizzlies won 1||44 – 20|
|63||Feb 7, 2011||Los Angeles Lakers||Memphis Grizzlies||W||93-84||Lakers won 4||44 – 19|
|62||Nov 30, 2010||Los Angeles Lakers||Memphis Grizzlies||W||98-96||Lakers won 3||43 – 19|
|61||Nov 2, 2010||Los Angeles Lakers||Memphis Grizzlies||W||124-105||Lakers won 2||42 – 19|
Please note that this table is simplified. The “Streak” column indicates the number of consecutive wins for the team that won the particular game, at that point in the series history. The “Head-to-Head LAL – MEM” column shows the cumulative record of the Lakers against the Grizzlies after each game.
Grizzlies vs Lakers Rivalry Background
Because these teams don’t play in the same division and had never met in the playoffs prior to 2023, there was little sense of rivalry between Los Angeles and Memphis. Yet, that all changed when Dillon Brooks, former forward for the Memphis Grizzlies, had choice words for LeBron James in the midst of their First Round playoff matchup in 2023. After Game 2, Brooks — who was clapping in James’ face constantly during Game 2 — was asked about these in-game confrontations with the NBA legend.
“I don’t care. He’s old,” Brooks said, referring to the 38-year-old James. “He wanted to say something after I got my fourth foul, he should have been saying that earlier on. I poke bears. I don’t respect anyone until they come and give me 40.”
“When I’m on that floor, you’re just another player to me,” Brooks said, via the Memphis Commercial Appeal. “I don’t care who you are. You’re just 6-8, 270 pounds and you’re a basketball player.”
Despite Brooks’ backtracking, James and his Lakers teammates took that initial insult to heart — and from there, what was once a respectful matchup between two Western Conference teams became a full-blown rivalry.
But before we get into the consequences of Brooks’ quote, let’s break down the playoff matchup he referred to.
2023 Western Conference First Round
After finishing the 2022-23 regular season with a 51-31 record, the Memphis Grizzlies entered the Western Conference playoffs as the #2 seed. The Los Angeles Lakers, on the other hand, finished the regular season with a 43-39 record, and had to defeat the Minnesota Timberwolves in the play-in tournament in order to secure their playoff position. And once they did so, they were matched up against Memphis.
Game 1 of this Western Conference First Round series took place in Memphis. Although the Grizzlies took a comfortable lead into the locker room once the first half ended, 21 second half points from the Lakers’ Rui Hachimura allowed Los Angeles to outscore Memphis 69-47 in the last two quarters, so that the Lakers took Game 1 by a score of 128-112.
Game 2 was also in Memphis — but Ja Morant wasn’t able to play due to a hand injury he sustained during Game 1. Yet, the Grizzlies had multiple players step up in Morant’s absence, including an unexpected Xavier Tillman, who scored a career-high 22 points. Due to Tillman’s effort, the Grizzlies were able to win Game 2 103-93 and even the series 1-1.
Between Games 2 and 3 is when Dillon Brooks made his LeBron James comment — which he likely regretted once Memphis came to Los Angeles for Game 3 and James scored 25 points to go along with 9 rebounds and 5 assists. Despite Ja Morant returning and scoring 45 points, the Lakers took Game 3, 111-101.
Then came Game 4, which proved to be the most exciting game in the series. Because both teams were tied 104-104 at the end of regulation, this match went to overtime in Los Angeles. During overtime, in his 270th playoff game, LeBron James recorded his first 20 point, 20 rebound game of his career — and in doing so led the Lakers to an inspiring 117-111 overtime win, giving them a 3-1 edge in the series.
Game 5 was in Memphis. Despite Anthony Davis scoring 31 points and grabbing 19 rebounds for the Lakers, Ja Morant’s 31 point outburst (which was complemented by 33 points from Desmond Bane and 18 from Jaren Jackson Jr.) allowed the Grizzlies the stomp the Lakers at home, 116-99.
The series then returned to Los Angeles for Game 6. Unfortunately for Memphis, this game seemed over just as soon as it started. The Lakers dominated on both sides of the ball in every quarter, and destroyed the Grizzlies 125-85. Therefore, the Lakers advanced to the second round of the playoffs, and the Grizzlies season ended.
Grizzlies vs Lakers 2023-24 Matchup Analysis
The Los Angeles Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies play each other four times in the 2023-24 regular season: on November 14 (in Los Angeles), January 5 (in Los Angeles), March 27 (in Memphis), and April 12 (in Memphis).
While the Grizzlies added Marcus Smart (an excellent defender) to their roster during the 2023 offseason, their most notable roster change (at least, as it pertains to the Lakers) is that they allowed Dillon Brooks to sign with the Houston Rockets. Now that Brooks is no longer on Memphis, tensions between these two teams will likely have died down by November 14, when they first face off. Yet, although there’s no more bad blood, matchups between Memphis and Los Angeles should still be exciting — especially witnessing the battle in the paint between Anthony Davis and Jaren Jackson Jr. And as Ja Morant continues to ascend into superstardom, we’re also watching the waning of LeBron James’ NBA career. For those reasons alone, any matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies is must-watch.
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