After a three day break for the Thanksgiving holiday, the Memphis Grizzlies might have come out a little sluggish against the 6-6 Los Angeles Lakers. However, the Grizzlies fed off the energy of a rabid sellout crowd and jumped out to an early lead and never looked back.
After early leads of 6-2 and 8-6 the Lakers would never lead again. Memphis took a 9-8 lead with 8 minutes to go in the first, and then proceeded to close the quarter on a 25-10 run to take a 34-18 lead. Neither team scored in the last 1:09 of the first. In fact, Memphis wouldn’t score until there was 8:18 left in the second as the Lakers closed the gap to 34-28. LA pulled to within 40-37 with 5:16 left, but could get no closer. The Lakers were down 56-49 at halftime as outscored the Grizzlies 31-22 in the second. In the third quarter, Memphis was up by as many as 15, but could never put the game out of reach. Memphis would take an 82-70 lead into the fourth quarter. The Lakers opened the fourth on a 12-6 run to pull to within 88-82 with 9 minutes to go in the game but wouldn’t get any closer than 95-90 with just over 5 minutes left..The Grizzlies held on to a 6 or 8 point lead consistently in the fourth quarter. Lakers’ guard Kobe Bryant made two free throws with 1:31 left to make it 102-96 but Grizzlies’ point guard Mike Conley, Jr. buried a 20 foot jumper with 39 seconds left to seal the deal. The Grizzlies held on for the 106-98 win. The Grizzlies are 7-0 this season when scoring more than 100 points. The Lakers dropped to 0-4 on the road to start a season for the first time since 1995. Before Friday night, the Lakers had won in 7 of their last 10 trips to Memphis.
The Lakers shot 44.6% from the field including 12/27 on three pointers. LA made 20 of 24 free throws, but Kobe Bryant was 13/14 from the line. The Lakers had just 28 rebounds, 19 assists, 6 steals, 5 blocks and 18 turnovers. Los Angeles had 24 points in the paint and 8 fast break points.
Kobe had 30 points for the Lakers including the last 14 points of the game for LA. He was 7/23 shooting and made 3 of 8 three pointers. Bryant also added 3 rebounds, 4 assists, and a steal. A frustrated Bryant walked back to the locker room when there were just a few seconds left before the usual post game handshakes and hugs. Forward Metta World Peace had 16 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals. Antawn Jamison added 16 points, 7 rebounds, an assist and a block off the bench. No other Laker scored more than 9 points. Forward Pau Gasol and center Dwight Howard combined for 13 points. Howard had 4 rebounds, 3 assists, a steal and 4 blocks. Gasol also had 4 rebounds, but he was benched for the entire fourth carter. Gasol said it was the first time he had sat out the entire fourth quarter when he was healthy in his career.
Memphis shot 50.7% from the field including 6 of 11 three pointers. The Grizzlies made 24 of 30 free throws. Memphis had 39 rebounds, 23 assists, 10 steals, 3 blocks, and 15 turnovers. The Grizzlies had 40 points in the paint and 10 fast break points.
All five Grizzlies’ starters scored in double digits. Small forward Rudy Gay had 21 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists. Conley had 19 points, a rebound, 6 assists, and 4 steals. Forward Zach Randolph had 17 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals. Center Marc Gasol had 14 points, 5 rebounds, 8 assists, and two blocks. Guard Tony Allen had 12 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals, and a block. Guard Jerryd Bayless and forward Quncy Pondexter added 9 and 8 points respectively off the bench. Forward Darrell Arthur made his season debut for the Grizzlies last night after missing last season with a torn Achilles’ Tendon. He missed the first 10 games of this season with a stress fracture in his leg.
The 6-7 Lakers travel to Dallas tomorrow night to take on the Mavericks. The 9-2 Grizzlies have best record in basketball all alone and will host the Cleveland Cavaliers Monday night.