Lakers – Grizzlies Running Diary

Los LakersAs always, feel free to refresh your browser for live updates throughout the game … On second thought, I guess they wouldn’t technically be “live” updates since you have to press refresh. But whatever.

Previous Lakers – Grizzlies Running Diary/Postgame
Lakers – Grizzlies Running Diary 12-22-2008
Lakers 105, Grizzlies 96: Postgame

Lakers – Grizzlies Running Diary 12-22-2008
Lakers 115, Grizzlies 98: Postgame

Inactives
Lakers: Andrew Bynum, Adam Morrison
Grizzlies: Hamed Haddadi, Mike Wilks

The notable change here is that Sun Yue is active, with Morrison taking his usual spot among the inactives.

Starters
Lakers Fisher, Bryant, Walton, Odom and Gasol
Grizzlies Mike Conley, O.J. Mayo, Rudy Gay, Darrell Arthur, Marc Gasol

I wouldn’t worry to much about L.A.’s focus tonight – having an extra day after losing twice should serve as well-sufficient motivation, particularly with the Sunday/holiday whites (because it’s Noche Latina [Los Lakers]) in which the Lakers have yet to lose this season.

Pau GasolFirst Quarter
12:00 L.A.’s bench got off to a very auspicious start by placing Sun Yue in the middle of a ring and hopping/spinning around him with locked hands. That has J-Peezy’s scent all over it.

10:59 L.A.’s first bucket came from Walton, who took advantage when Memphis didn’t even make an effort to stop the ball. That’s the thing with a young team featuring two rookies, two sophomores and a third-year player – their defensive rotations aren’t the best in the biz.

8:29 Walton’s second jumper came in transition, tying the game at eight after Mayo (who’s been struggling with his shooting lately) hit a triple.

6:00 Admittedly, the first six minutes were far less energetic than some (me) expected out of L.A., which allowed the Grizz to take a 15-12 lead on a Darko Milicic (the player formerly known as the Human Victory Cigar) put in an easy one. But this shouldn’t last too long…

4:14 And it didn’t really, as Bryant, Fisher and Gasol combined to score seven points en route to a 20-17 lead, the final hoop coming as the Western Conference Player of the Month ran the floor before being awarded by a Bryant pass, giving him an easy dunk.

3:45 Bachelor Jason dumps Molly again and tries to get back with Melissa. Not really, but would that surprise you? I wish we had more time to talk about this … The bottom line: My main concern with shows like “The Bachelor” is not life messages or people’s happiness, but rather, pure entertainment value. It’s hard to get more entertaining than that bizarre ending with Jason destroying Melissa’s heart (poor girl) just as his had been dumped on by Deanna on “The Bachelorette,” and then walking into the open arms of Molly.

3:32 While I was thinking about “The Bachelor,” Kobe scored five quick points to get to 11 and open a 25-17 lead for L.A.

2:18 The run continued with buckets from Walton and Gasol, both courtesy of Lamar Odom, before a Grizzlies timeout recognized the 14-0 burst. Central in the surge was Odom, who had already amassed six boards and four assists in the 29-17 box score.

Adriana Lima: The supermodel just married Memphis guard Marko Jaric, who has yet to hit a shot from the field (21 attempts) since marrying the Brazilian beauty. But something tells me he doesn’t care.

In the final 5:21 of action, L.A. completely took over the game, outscoring the visitors 17-2 to close the quarter.

Lamar OdomSecond Quarter
9:37 Josh Powell just did his best John Wayne impression, riding on top of Arthur after attempting to pull down a rebound. No, really, he fell directly on top of Arthur, who somehow supported Powell’s weight for two seconds before Peezy jumped off. Fun things.

7:24 Vujacic hit his first of three attempts to put L.A. up 40-28. Before the game, someone asked Phil if he were concerned about Sasha’s play (you know, the exact same question he answered last week before the Atlanta game), and Phil gave the exact same answer: No, as long as he’s still playing defense and passing the ball, which he is. The shooting will come, said Phil. Apparently no one else remembers that conversation.

5:25 L.A.’s bench was, again, not very good, allowing Memphis to cut the 13-point lead heading into the second quarter down to seven when the starters checked back in for the white jerseys.

4:10 Bryant immediately nailed back-to-back tough buckets from strange angles, while suspended in the air, to put the lead quickly back into double digits. Moments later, Darius Miles checked in as Portland fans simultaneously began to pound their heads onto respective tables.

0:52.3 Odom’s filling up the sheet again … This time he passed up a shot to quite nicely find Bryant under the hoop for a reverse layup that most players would find a way to miss. Bryant hit, getting to 19 points on Odom’s sixth assist (plus nine boards).

0:03.8 Pau’s brother Marc caught Gay’s pass in traffic and drew a foul, hitting both to conclude a very productive half with 11 points, nine boards and three assists, a better line than Pau’s seven points, two boards and one assist. Since Gay had converted a layup on the previous possession, Memphis cut the lead down to just five at 52-47 heading into the half. Let’s blame the bench.

The Lakers shot 77 percent in the first quarter to outscore Memphis 32-19, but shot only 32 percent in the second in getting outscored 28-20.

Kobe BryantThird Quarter
11:46 Good start for the Lakers in the name of Pau, who used a quick first step to beat his brother to the hole for a deuce.

9:22 Kobe nailed a second consecutive jumper for a 59-53 lead, but isn’t putting quite the same focus into stopping O.J. Mayo cold. Bryant, who looks considerably bigger than Mayo, could probably all but shut the kid down were he to focus on that task, and while Mayo’s only 4-of-10, Bryant’s conceded a few easy looks by gambling for steals.

8:22 Fish had his jumper going tonight, nailing his fourth J in five tries, after Odom grabbed his 10th rebound.

7:12 There’s your highlight play, courtesy of Kobe, who blew past Mayo and went up for a hulkish reverse one-handed dunk. Yikes. Lakers by 10.

4:45 Lamar continued to get busy on the box score with his second consecutive block, swatting Milicic and Quinton Ross in succession. That’s six swats for the games, with eight dimes and 12 rebounds with only two points.

2:34 A nice stretch from the starters concluded with an aggressive two-handed hammer dunk from Pau, who even took the time to hang up on the rim Shaq style for a while. He added a free throw, only his third make in six attempts, to put L.A. up 74-62.

1:42 After a Mbenga swat, Odom tried to throw it off the glass to Ariza for a dunk in transition, but the ball came off just a bit too hard, and L.A. ultimately lost possession. I’m sure Phil didn’t love that Odom idea, but I actually thought it was a good play considering where the defense was. Just didn’t work out.

Kobe added another jumper to get to 31 points on 12-of-23 shooting, and Farmar hit two free throws with seven seconds left as the Lakers took a 78-67 lead into the fourth quarter.

Mike ConelyFourth Quarter
10:41 Memphis failed to put “Don’t let D.J. Mbenga shoot from 17 feet” in their scouting report, according to Ty, and DJ made ‘em pay to put L.A. up 82-67 on the heels of a Peezy jumper. What they might have expected was Mbenga’s monster swat of Rudy Gay on an alley-oop attempt.

9:50 That’s more like it from the second unit, which got a Farmar layup in traffic to cap a 10-0 run that put Los Lakers up by 17. Farmar, Vujacic, Ariza, Powell and Mbenga each made at least one nice play in the stretch.

8:13 MBENGA! First came his second destruction of a Gay attempt (third overall), then his second straight water jumper, courtesy of Vujacic. Gotta reward your big guy. Memphis called a 20-second timeout to discuss being down 90-69, allowing Bryant to back bump a pumped up Mbenga. Then out of the timeout, Mbenga knocked the inbounds pass off Marc Gasol’s leg to regain possession for L.A. Get off him. He also has four fouls, and Ty wonders the maximum minutes he could play without fouling out. Let’s set the over/under at 18.

5:39 During a timeout with L.A. leading 92-77, the Kiss Cam concluded with a pairing of Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson. Sandler smooched Jack on the cheek, and Jack went ahead and shivered like a high school girl, much to the crowd’s pleasure. Only in L.A…

4:00 Vujacic, for three, to make sure Memphis didn’t continue a comeback attempt that had dwindled the lead to 11. In his 15 minutes, Sasha was quite productive with 11 points (4-of-6 in the second half), three boards, three assists and three steals…

… Make that four assists. Vujacic lofted a beautiful alley-oop pass to Powell, who got to the second floor of the elevator to throw it down with two hands. The ball may have been throw a bit high, but Peezy – who has really soft hands – managed to latch on before the force came through. In related news, Powell’s new baby Hayden was barely visible inside his hands in the Lakers parking lot after shootaround today. L.A. 97, Memphis 83.

1:50 Powell kept a nice game going with another hoop, plus a swat to get to eight points with six boards, two dimes, a block and a steal.

Your final: 99-89, Lakers, keeping the white jerseys perfect on the season and earning a day off for the players manana.