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We took a look at the Lakers – Grizzlies contest in Memphis while it was happening, entering a thought or three each quarter as the Lakers looked for their fifth straight road win.
Lakers: Adam Morrison
Grizzlies: Darrell Arthur, Sam Young
Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Gasol and Bynum
Grizzlies: Mike Conley, O.J. Mayo, Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol
Pregame Locker Room Talk
For discussion of a FIFA 2010 showdown between Lamar Odom/Jordan Farmar and Luke Walton/Adam Morrison, plus Phil Jackson’s pregame thoughts, CLICK HERE.
5:45 Ron Artest’s second long jumper of the first few minutes halted a 16-4 Grizzlies run that had opened an eight-point lead, as Kobe Bryant opened 0-for-3 and Pau Gasol picked up two early fouls that forced Lamar Odom into the contest just two minutes in. It was no surprise that Memphis came out strong, as L.A’s coaches knew how difficult it would be to close the trip with a victory: the Grizz had one 11 straight home games before blowing a big lead against New Orleans in their last game, and the Lakers were more than a bit road weary and eager to get on the team flight back to L.A.
5:16 We expected to see a lot of L.A.’s bench today on the back-to-back/last game of an eight-game trip, and Jordan Farmar checked in early in the first as evidence. We also saw Odom, Shannon Brown and D.J. Mbenga in the first, and wouldn’t have to wait long for Luke Walton to enter.
0:07.1 Rudy Gay made a big mental error by launching a full court attempt with seven seconds still remaining on the game clock, apparently mistaking the seven for a one. Give L.A. credit for capitalizing, as Shannon Brown gathered the rebound, launched a full court pass to Bryant and watched Kobe nail a buzzer-beating three-pointer. That shot tied the game at 24, and got Kobe to within 18 points of tying Jerry West’s all-time Lakers scoring mark.
12:00 Farmar, Brown, Walton, Odom and Gasol (who’d played just two minutes in the first with those two early fouls) started the second as the bench effort continued. The first quarter effort had been sloppy for L.A., featuring five turnovers and five missed free throws, so the 24-all score would do just fine.
5:47 While rookie Hasheem Thabeet – the 2nd overall pick out of UCONN (taken ahead of Memphis Tigers PG Tyreke Evans) – had trouble with Gasol on defense (conceding three buckets), he was able to grab an offensive board and stick it back to put Memphis up 41-34 halfway through the second. Thabeet’s so tall that he doesn’t even have to jump to touch the rim … you could fit at least three Grizzlies cheerleaders into his body.
0:04.4 With the rest of the Lakers noticeably lacking in energy (did we mention the 13-day trip?), Bryant scored the final 13 Lakers points of the second quarter to cut what was an 11-point lead to just two at the half, 52-50. He’d also gotten to 23 points, just five away from tying West.
5:41 Artest’s triple was sorely needed to halt a 12-3 Grizz run to start the third. Ron Ron got to 11 points to join Kobe (25) in double figures for the Lakers, while Zach Randolph’s 14 points (and 11 boards) led the Grizzlies. ZR certainly looked like an All-Star a few days after being voted in by the coaches.
4:14 With 4:14 left in the third quarter, Bryant threw down a two-handed dunk after Jordan Farmar laid the ball off in transition following an Artest steal to become the greatest scorer in the history of the Los Angeles Lakers with point No. 29 to climb to 25,193 all-time. Moments earlier, @LetKobeDunk had flown in for a soaring one-handed dunk through the lane.
1:00 Lamar Odom, already suffering from some sore fingers, suffered a sprained right index finger that he’d continue to play through, but LA managed a one-point lead after three.
7:57 Brown’s three-pointer gave the Lakers a 78-76 lead as the Purple and Gold tried to mount a final push to their road trip. Farmar had nailed a third-quarter-ending triple himself to provide further ammunition off the bench.
5:05 Bryant continued his scoring binge with a corner three-pointer that made it 86-82 for L.A., getting to 39 points in the process as the starters returned to try and close out the 13-day trip. L.A., however, had managed to get only 10 attempts combined for Gasol and Bynum.
0:23.2 In a photo finish, Bryant pulled up in transition to nail a three-pointer that answered Rudy Gay’s corner three. The Grizz, however, still led by two as Randolph’s two free throws swished through when Odom was called for over the back at the other end after missing a layup (Bryant had also missed a three after a tip out). Still with us? On the ensuing inbounds pass, Mike Conley was fouled by Fisher, but missed both free throws to leave the door open for the Lakers. Bryant dribbled around the perimeter probing for an opening before eventually dishing to Artest for a look at a corner three … but it rimmed out, and the ball went over Gasol’s head as the Spaniard looked for a tip in.
With that, the Lakers lost for the first time in five games, finishing their trip with a 5-3 mark. Before the flight back to Los Angeles, here are your postgame numbers:
25,198 Career points for Kobe Bryant, who surpassed Lakers legend Jerry West as the all-time leading scorer in franchise history.
44 Points for Kobe to lead all scorers on this night, tying his season-high in the process.
42 Points in the paint for the Grizzlies, compared to just 26 for the Lakers, tying a season low.
10 Missed free throws for the Lakers, a number that plagues a team even worse in a two-point game.
3 Shots attempted by Andrew Bynum after his 21-point performance in Boston. He did, however, grab eight rebounds in 25 minutes, and most importantly got over the mental hurdle of not getting injured in Memphis.