Lakers – Grizzlies Running Diary

LakersRead about the Lakers vs. Grizzlies game as it unfolds. As 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 1-31-2009
Lakers 115, Grizzlies 98: Postgame

Lakers – Grizzlies Running Diary 3-3-2009
Lakers 99, Grizzlies 89: Postgame

Lakers: D.J. Mbenga, Sun Yue
Grizzlies: Chris Mihm, Mike Wilks

Lakers Fisher, Bryant, Ariza, Gasol and Bynum
Grizzlies Mike Conley, O.J. Mayo, Rudy Gay, Darrell Arthur, Marc Gasol

Phil Jackson Pregame
Jackson’s media session offered information on most things other than the Memphis Grizzlies: Portland’s possible fine for showing the Ariza flagrant foul; his philosophy on playing Tuesday’s game since home court over Cleveland will not likely be attainable (Cleveland simply has to win 1-of-2 games, and Jackson said he wouldn’t sit his starters); How he wants Jordan Farmar to be more aggressive offensively; and his feeling the Bynum won’t be affected mentally after getting hurt twice against the Grizz.

ArizaFirst Quarter
11:39 Mayo pulled up from well beyond the three-point line and swished the game’s first shot, which preceded a Rudy Gay triple to quickly put the Grizz up 6-0. I’ve been arguing that Mayo should, with no question, come after Derrick Rose and Brook Lopez in Rookie of the Year voting. Look at all the numbers, not just scoring (Mayo’s 18 points are a mirage since he plays 38 minutes and takes a ton of shots) and you’ll concur.

9:51 The bench was still standing for the Lakers after the home team started quite sluggishly, missing four straight shots, until Gasol finally got a layup with 9:20 left in the quarter. It’s simply a tough game in which to find motivation with all thoughts on the playoffs, but they’ll get going eventually.

8:18 ‘Drew sure got going, getting back-to-back easy hoops (the first a dunk) to make it 8-6.

6:28 Since Ariza’s been struggling with his outside shot of late, it was good for Lakers fans to see him head straight to the rim for his second straight dunk, pulling L.A. within one at 11-10. The lane won’t be that open in the playoffs, but nonetheless, Ariza knows he needs to stay aggressive.

5:13 Consider the Lakers woken up. Bryant hit his first field goal attempt after Bynum’s offensive board to give L.A. their first lead. In unrelated news, here’s a quick list of Lakers players and broadcasters favorite TV shows:

Lamar Odom: “Rob Dyrdek Fantasy Factory” and “Family Guy.”
D.J. Mbenga: “Family Guy.”
Spero Dedes: “Sopranos’ re-runs (Spero doesn’t watch much TV, and is from New Jersey, but still … Kinda weak buddy)
Matt Money Smith: “South Park,” “Family Guy”
Ty Nowell: Anything “Real World” CT is on
Me: “Friday Night Lights,” “The Office,” and anything CT is on

2:54 The game’s first timeout saw Odom and, again, Shannon Brown check in for the Lakers, who were up 16-13, creating an uber-athletic lineup of Brown-Bryant-Ariza-Odom-Gasol. Odom immediately took a jumper and missed, but he grabbed his own board and kicked to Bryant for a jumper over Mayo, making him 3-for-3 to start the contest.

0:01 Odom finished the quarter in excellent fashion by draining a quarter triple to make it 23-15. Since Memphis opened 8-0, that made L.A.’s run 23-7 to close the period.

GasolSecond Quarter
11:23 There, ladies and gentlemen, is Shannon Brown. Thanks to a lovely behind-the-back setup from Luke Walton in transition, Brown had the chance to jump 50 inches into the air and throw down a one-hander on Marko Jaric’s head. Jaric, however, is married to Adriana Lima, and didn’t seem worried about it. Alas, Fatman Sr.’s free throw made it 28-15 Lakers.

8:35 All right, what does Odom have to do to get a call in this league? Full body contact while driving to the rim didn’t do it this time. Meanwhile, Gasol was struggling with his shooting, missing for the sixth time in eight attempts, pretty out of character for the NBA’s fifth-ranked FG% man.

6:07 Vujacic made up for missing an open three by canning one on L.A.’s next possession after a terrific defensive board and push from Odom. That put L.A. up 35-23, but we shouldn’t gloss over that last play, since very (if any) players coming off the bench have the ability to execute something so beneficial to their team.

4:42 Before the game, Phil Jackson talked about how pleased he was with Odom’s play in the last two games since he went back to the bench. Another three pointer gave him six points with two boards, three assists and a block in 11 minutes.

3:52 A rare appearance by Adam Morrison could either mean that Jackson wanted to see if the kid happened to be in rhythm, or simply that he deserved some run after improved practice play. Meanwhile, Bryant nailed his fifth jumper in as many attempts and Gasol hit a baby hook plus the harm (he missed the FT) to put L.A. up 46-29.

2:11 Bynum went to the bench with three fouls in 15 minutes after amassing eight points on 3-of-7 shooting with four boards.

0:43.0 Odom, terrific all half, went coast-to-coast for a layup that was canceled by a Conley layup at the other end that found the Grizzlies down 48-37 at the break.

FisherThird Quarter
11:01 Bynum committed his fourth foul, and Jackson opted to bring Josh Powell off the pine instead of throwing off the rotation by going with Odom. Certainly a nice luxury to have the solid Powell as your fourth big.

7:29 Pau’s brother Marc continued to play well by sticking a layup, putting together a solid line of 12 points, eight boards and three assists.

5:47 Fisher, who started the game 1-of-7, found his stroke in transition. His three gave L.A. a 56-43 lead, and looked pretty good coming out of his hand. Some speculated that his recent food trouble may have been affecting his shooting, but Jackson said it was simply his inability to get in rhythm with decreased minutes that won’t be a problem come playoff time.

4:00 As L.A. took its foot off the pedal a bit, Gay hit a three to cut the lead to six, though Bryant’s prompt fadeaway and a Pau lefty hook stopped a 7-0 run and put L.A. back up 10. Interestingly, Jackson had sent Brown to the scorer’s table, confident that the energy would pick up with the leaper in the game.

2:46 Ariza again took advantage of too much ball pressure from the Grizz to slide to the hoop for a two-handed reverse. On the next play, Bryant picked off Gay’s pass and lofted the ball ahead, which Brown caught up to and nicely laid off to Ariza for another dunk. Like that, L.A. had climbed back up by 14.

Ariza added a triple to his two dunks to get to 12 points for the game and eight in the quarter, joining Bryant (16) and Gasol (12) in double figures. The Lakers led 70-59, maintaining their 11-point halftime lead, and continued to look pretty solid defensively in holding Memphis below 40 percent shooting (37.7 percent).

KobeFourth Quarter
11:19 Brown and Bynum ran a nice lil’ two-man game that resulted in Bynum’s lay-in after Brown found him in the lane. Another week of conditioning, and Bynum hammers that through. You also had to like Brown’s previous defensive possession, in which he stuck right in front of the ultra-quick Conley before forcing a bad shot at the end of the clock.

9:38 Bynum scored again in the paint to get to 12 points with his five boards in his 19 minutes.

7:04 Vujacic’s three, courtesy of Walton, put L.A. up by 16. Walton then earned another dime by finding Bynum alone underneath for a big one-handed dunk, about which Lakers fans felt quite strongly.

4:50 Lakers fans were a bit sad to have missed Vujacic’s poster dunk in Sacramento, and were accordingly pleased to see Sasha go up for a breakaway one-hander after he swiped the ball at midcourt. Two Bynum free throws a minute later (he was 6-of-6 from the line) gave L.A. its biggest lead at 86-67.

2:34 Vujacic’s two free throws were the final points L.A. would get, getting the Lakers to 92 on 45.2 percent shooting. Memphis managed to shoot just 36.6 percent from the field in a fine defensive effort from the home team.

That’s victory No. 64 with an interesting matchup with Utah on Tuesday serving as the final regular season game.