Lakers forward sounds off following Grizzlies game: 'One of the worst games'

Apr 12, 2024; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Memphis Grizzlies forward GG Jackson (45) reacts after a dunk
Apr 12, 2024; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Memphis Grizzlies forward GG Jackson (45) reacts after a dunk / Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Friday night, the Memphis Grizzlies took on the Los Angeles Lakers in what was their final face-off of 2023-24 and each of their second to last games of the regular season.

Though the two clubs have had rather different turnouts to this year's campaign, with the former being lottery-bound while the latter is currently gearing up for the Play-In Tournament, through 48 minutes of action it appeared the organizations were both on the same playing field.

From the forced turnover department (Lakers coughed up 19 possessions) to their shooting successes (converted on 52.8 percent of their attempts from the floor), one could seriously make the argument that the Grizzlies out-dueled LA for the vast majority of the night.

Unfortunately, however, the Lakers had their star-power to lean on in crunch-time (LeBron James and Anthony Davis combined for 73 points) which, in the end, gave them the jolt needed to squeak out of FedEx Forum with a 123-120 win.

Though Grizzlies fans may look at this outing as somewhat of a moral victory, as they gave the team who bounced them from last year's postseason a real freight despite sporting nearly 20 fewer wins, members of the Lakers organization seem to be quite disappointed in how the night played out, with forward Rui Hachimura going as far as to label it "one of the worst games" they've had this year.

Rui Hachimura thrashes Lakers' efforts following Grizzlies game

"They literally had nothing to lose. They just played hard, they're trying to earn their contracts... For them, it's like a playoff game. We definitely played one of the worst games this whole season. It can't happen like this. I know it's the end of the season already but we're trying to build something for the playoffs. We can't be messing around [against] a team like this. It was a close game [and] we're supposed to win by a lot. [We're] supposed to have our young guys play this game."

Rui Hachimura

There's an argument to be made that a club with nothing to lose is one of the scarier opponents to square off against and the Grizzlies time and time again have exemplified this kind of sentiment throughout the season.

On a night where Memphis had 13 total players ruled out and, in theory, should have been blown out by a rather intact Lakers team, Darvin Ham's squad found themselves in a real dog fight with the cellar dweller Grizz out in Grind City, even seeing themselves trailing by as many as nine points in the second half and by one (118-117) with under a minute to go in regulation.

Of course, in the end, LeBron James wound up stepping up during the final period, dropping 12 of his team's 25 points in the quarter (finished with 37 in total) and slammed home the breakaway dunk with five seconds remaining to secure the win for Los Angeles.

Though, in the end, Hachimura would acknowledge that "a win's a win" during his presser, it was more than apparent that him and his teammates were not enthused by the way they performed against Memphis.

For Grizzlies fans, this should be music to their ears!