LAL 116, MEM 111: March 13 Running Diary

Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Tuesday evening road contest at Memphis, the Lakers looking to win a second straight road game and third straight overall, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:

Starters
Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, World Peace, Gasol and Bynum
Grizzlies: M. Conley, T. Allen, S. Young*, M. Speights and M. Gasol

FIRST QUARTER
8:37 After conceding the game’s first six points, the Lakers reeled off a quick 5-0 run to cut the lead to one, capped by Bryant’s alley-oop dunk from Gasol. Six of the first eight Grizz points came on long 2′s from Tony Allen, not known as a shooter, but as perhaps the league’s best perimeter defender that lacks touch on offense.

5:09 Two corner threes from Derek Fisher put him over 10,000 points for his career (he needed four points coming in), and kept L.A. in it early despite five turnovers leading to six Grizzlies points, the key in their 14-11 lead.

0:00 Two stats defined the first: L.A. committed seen turnovers to just one for Memphis, and the Grizz grabbed offensive rebounds to L.A.’s one. The Grizz just play real, real hard at home, more so than almost any NBA team, using young athletes that buy into a system, and it produced a 29-21 lead after one.

SECOND QUARTER
10:25 L.A.’s bench responded in kind, however, working its way to a quick 6-0 run capped by Blake’s alley-oop dunk to Bynum. Matt Barnes added a hammer slam of his own on a nice basket cut, with Blake throwing both passes.

6:16 Having led by two, the Lakers gave up two buckets to Pau’s brother, putting Memphis back in front by a deuce, but the bench effort was impressive for Mike Brown, most notably Bynum, who was up to 12 points on 5-of-7 field goals. The All-Star center bruised his knee last game and missed shootaround this morning, but was moving around quite well, mitigating concerns.

2:00 On KCAL 9, we showed two huge Lakers fans known as “NMLAKERSFAN” and “JIGGY”, which their gold Lakers jerseys tell us on the back. They have been to 12 LAL road games already this season, and it never ceases to amaze how many Lakers fans there are everywhere. Meanwhile, Bynum continued to do work, connecting on back-to-back buckets to reach 18 points on an impressive 7-of-9 field goals and 4-of-4 free throws, bringing L.A. again back to a tie after they’d trailed by eight.

THIRD QUARTER
10:20 Holding a one-point lead at the half, the Grizz came firing out of the tunnel on an 8-0 run, during which Bryant picked up his ninth technical foul of the season after the refs missed Tony Allen hitting Bryant’s elbow on a jump shot. The result was a 60-51 deficit, and in the time out, Mike Brown said: “We just gave them a free minute and a half … now let’s play how we play.”

3:35 Falling behind by as many as 15 points, with Marreese Speights going off for 19 points on 9-of-12 FG’s (many pick and pop jumpers), L.A. stayed afloat behind Bynum (21 points, nine boards) and Bryant (18 points), the two combining to shoot 14-for-20.

2:45 A big 5-point possession started with Barnes earning a clear path foul after getting tripped at mid court, and after his two free throws finished with Blake nailing a corner three from Barnes via Kobe on the hockey assist. The lead was thus cut to eight, as close as L.A. had been since early in the period. Bynum had a ferocious put-back slam in the final minute

FOURTH QUARTER
9:15 It was Kobe nailing back-to-back jumpers to start the fourth quarter, and Gasol adding two field goals (plus an and-1 free throw) that cut the Memphis lead to six at 86-80. Despite the early struggles, L.A. was well within striking distance.

4:45 More strong Lakers play through the middle of the fourth had cut the Grizz lead to just two, Gasol’s alley-oop finding Bynum for another dunk, allowing the big man to hit 27 points with 11 boards. The lead had been 17 at one point, but before the Lakers had a chance to tie or take the lead, Memphis got a big bucket from Quincey Pondexter, who hit a three with one second left on the shot clock after another strong defensive possession from L.A.

1:33 A deep three from Bryant capped a 5-0 run to tie the game at 95, and it happened on a super heady play from both Bryant and Gasol, with Allen helping way off Kobe since he was too far away to shoot. So Kobe simply dished to Gasol, cut to a spot three feet in and nailed the triple on the catch. The next big play came again via Bryant and Gasol, as Kobe drew traffic in the paint, then fed Gasol for a running one-handed dunk to put L.A. Suddenly in front after they’d trailed by as many as 17. His brother, however, managed to get the only bucket of the final seconds, as Bryant and Conley missed potential game winners, and we headed to overtime. Great effort to force it from Mike Brown’s team.

OVERTIME
2:09 L.A. did some serious damage at the foul line all night, but Bryant missed only the fourth one in 28 attempts as the game stayed tied at 101, when it would have been 103-101 had World Peace also not missed 1-of-2. Then came two more big plays, Marc Gasol helping to force a near miss by Bryant at the rim, and Conley scoring at the other end … only to have Gasol find Bynum for yet another alley-oop, tying it up at 103.

0:00 With a potential game winning shot in the air from, you guessed it, Kobe … we instead headed to double overtime. The 20-footer was short, which we can understand since Bryant had played 47 minutes.

DOUBLE OVERTIME
4:00 Blake’s three went in, and Mayo’s came out, L.A. thus taking a 106-103 lead. Blake, however, got his pocket picked by Conley on the next possession, cutting the lead to one.

1:44 Memphis used its young legs to get two more quick field goals, but this time it was Bynum and then Bryant answering with buckets, and yet ANOTHER (maybe the 4th) alley-oop from Gasol (eight assists) to Bynum, giving Bynum 35 and 15, and L.A. a three-point lead. Marc Gasol scored on the other end, but Bryant answered with a drive rendering two free throws, his 11th and 12th of the night, to put his team back up three with 38.8 seconds left. Bryant, who hadn’t sat out in the second half, was outstanding just from an energy standpoint in leading the Lakers all the way back.

0:00 Bynum had been tremendous all night, making 15-of-18 shots, so it was fitting he hit two free throws with 22 seconds left to put the Lakers up five and seal a win they fought extremely hard to get. To reiterate, L.A. was down 17 at one point, and nine heading into the final quarter, before executing with the Kobe-Gasol-Bynum trio to pull off a second straight road win, keeping sole possession of third in the West just two games behind San Antonio for second. No rest for this group, though, as New Orleans waited for a back-to-back on Wednesday night. See you there.