Below is a running diary of L.A.’s third home game of the young season, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:
Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Odom and Gasol
Grizzlies: Mike Conley, O.J. Mayo, Rudy Gay, Darrell Arthur, Marc Gasol
*Arthur was starting in place of Zach Randolph, out with a lower back contusion.
8:37 After the Lakers scored the first five points of the contest, the Grizzlies finally got on the scoreboard when Marc Gasol drew a foul on his brother Pau. The Lakers simply marched down to the other end and hit back-to-back threes, first from Odom and then Fisher.
2:27 After L.A. beat Golden State on Sunday (while jumping out to a similarly large early lead), Phil Jackson suggested that Bryant’s defense wasn’t yet up to par with his offense. Bryant, of course, responded by opening up very aggressively and effectively on defense as O.J. Mayo went 1-for-4 from the field, and it didn’t slow down the Finals MVP on the other end. Bryant made all four of his field goals towards nine points with two boards, then got his first assist on an Artest three to make it 29-18 Lakers.
0:30 A Barnes free throw was the final point of the first, in which L.A. took a 34-23 lead, scoring 34 points for the second straight first quarter. The Lakers are tough enough to beat when Odom, Gasol and Bryant are all in form, but taking care of the ball (two turnovers) and getting to the line (nine times) sure doesn’t help opponents like Memphis.
7:04 In just eight minutes of action, Matt Barnes went on a personal assault of the offensive glass, grabbing six boards over Memphis defenders. He couldn’t find the hoop on several put-back attempts, however, until finally getting one to go, to a standing ovation from Bryant on the bench.
2:27 Content to let Gasol and Odom dominate for much of the first half, Bryant suddenly went off from three-point range, nailing three from distance in just over two minutes to put the Lakers up 66-40. Bryant would finish the half with 23 points on 7-of-10 shooting, with Gasol (15) and Odom (11) joining him in double figures. Speaking of three-point shooting, Odom had connected on all three of his attempts, making it five straight hits across the last three games for L.A.’s Swiss Army Knife. His only miss of the season came in the first game (6-of-7 total, 85.7 percent).
0:00 So, that was easy. For the first time since Jan. 15, 2010 against the Clippers, the Lakers scored 73 points in a half. They shot 58 percent from the field to get there, also aided by 11 offensive rebounds and 14 made free throws.
6:31 A powerful Pau dunk, in reverse fashion off the baseline, kept L.A.’s lead in the 20′s halfway through the third quarter. The Spaniard would add two free throws moments later to reach his third double-double in four games (21 and 12).
4:48 Determined not to let the Lakers coast all the way towards a victory, Rudy Gay continued an excellent individual game by converting an and-1 to reach 13 points in the quarter and 28 in the game on 11-of-16 shooting (3-of-3 from three), helping Memphis get within 14 points at 81-67.
0:00 Determined to let the Lakers coast all the way towards victory, Shannon Brown nailed back-to-back threes to close the quarter with L.A. up 97-76. Brown and Barnes had combined for 19 bench points for the home team.
12:00 Phil Jackson kept Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol in, though Bryant and Fisher sat on the bench, to ensure victory, and a quick 7-0 run put the game on ice for good with L.A. up 104-76.
2:29 Barnes, who had been terrific all night, grabbed his ninth offensive rebound of the game total 14 rebounds along with 16 points in a terrific game off the pine.
0:00 Your final: 124-105 Lakers, who had led for 122 straight minutes since early in the second quarter against Phoenix. Not a bad way to start the season.
Stay tuned for postgame numbers, and check back on Wednesday evening for a running diary of L.A.’s road game in Sacramento.