That the Lakers were able to battle through severe adversity and win for the second time this season against the Grizzlies barely seemed to matter on a suddenly sullen Saturday night in Memphis.
After playing inspired basketball for the last five games, center Andrew Bynum went down in a heap with 6:55 to go in the first quarter with the original diagnosis of a sprained right knee (x-rays negative). Bynum will undergo further testing in New York City on Sunday morning, as the Lakers community awaits eagerly and nervously for the results.
The coincidence of the injury was almost cruel, as it was here in Memphis on Jan. 13 last season when Bynum suffered an ultimately season-ending injury to his left knee.
Yet and still, the Lakers had an opponent to play, and after falling behind by as many as 13 in a first half where minds were certainly in another place, L.A. rallied together at the break to open the third quarter on a 9-2 run, including five points from Bryant. Pau Gasol then scored eight points in a six-minute stretch to help put the Lakers up by as many as 11 in the third, before settling on a 91-82 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
L.A. would then completely shut their defensive rim, holding Memphis without a point in the first six minutes of the fourth quarter. They’d lead by as many as 18 during that stretch before ultimately settling on a 115-98 victory.
So, while the focus and level of basketball was quite impressive in the second half, the only though on anyone’s mind leaving FedExForum was regarding Bynum’s health.
A few numbers, and remember to check Lakers.com tomorrow for a full report on Bynum, who talked to reporters after the game in surprisingly good spirits, suggesting that he didn’t hear anything “pop” and could already put pressure on the knee.
Points scored by Memphis in roughly the first six minutes of the fourth quarter. They’d ultimately get to 15 for the period.
Minutes into the game when Bynum went down. ‘Drew already had seven points and a swat on 2-of-2 shooting plus 3-of-3 from the line.
Combined number of boards (six), assists (3), steals (2) and blocks (1) for Lamar Odom, who added 13 points off the bench in a solid overall effort. Odom replaced Bynum in the starting lineup for the second half.
Point difference between the Lakers (36) and Grizzlies (21) in the third quarter. Kobe Bryant had 10 points, Pau Gasol eight and Lamar Odom nine in the period.
Points for Bryant to lead the Lakers, just one more than Gasol’s 24.
Points in the second half for the Grizzlies.
Shooting percentage by the Grizzlies in the first half.
Second half points for the Lakers, a 22-point advantage over the Grizzlies.