The 27-14 Memphis Grizzlies beat the 17-25 Los Angeles Lakers Wednesday night. It was the fourth straight defeat for the Lakers, who reportedly had a contentious team meeting after their shoot around Wednesday afternoon. Coach Mike D’Antoni reportedly called the meeting to “clear the air.” It didn’t work as the Lakers fell deeper into a hole created by injuries and a lack of team chemistry and depth.
The Lakers opened the game on a 6-0 run, and would maintain the lead until a Jerryd Bayless layup gave the Grizzlies a 13-11 lead with just under 4 minutes to go in the quarter. The Grizzlies were shorthanded to begin with as they traded three reserves to the Cleveland Cavaliers yesterday. They called up forward Chris Johnson from the D-League, but still only dressed 10 players. Several Grizzlies got into early foul trouble, forcing coach Lionel Hollins to give significant minutes to little used guard Tony Wroten and center Hamed Haddadi. The Grizzlies would end up going up by as much as 3 points, and ended the first up 24-23.
In the second quarter Lakers forward Pau Gasol hit a 15 foot jump shot with 9 minutes to go that gave the Lakers a 30-28 lead. Memphis then went on a 22-5 run to take a 50-35 with 4:24 left. Memphis would never trail again. Los Angeles pulled to within 6 a couple of times, but would never get closer for the rest of the half. late in the quarter, Lakers’ center Dwight Howard re-aggravated the shoulder injury that kept him out of several games earlier this month. He left the game and would not return. He will be reevaluated in Los Angeles. Memphis would end up with a 59-50 lead going into the locker room. The Lakers had 0 second chance points on the first half.
In the third Kobe Bryant hit a 14 foot jumper that pulled the Lakers within 61-58 with just under 8:58 left. LA would not get closer for the rest of the quarter. Memphis took an 83-70 lead with 44 seconds left in the quarter on a 14 footer from center Marc Gasol. Lakers guard Jodie Meeks hit a 3 pointer with 32 seconds left that made it 83-73. neither team would score again for the rest of the quarter.
The Lakers did not make a serious run the fourth quarter. The Grizzlies went up 87-74 with just over 10 minutes to go and LA would not get closer. Memphis would lead by as many as 21, but would end up winning by 13 points 106-93.
It was the seventh straight road loss for the Lakers, something they haven’t done since the 2004-05 season the last time they failed make the playoffs. Going into this game Memphis had scored 85 points or less in six straight games. The Grizzlies came into the game averaging just under 93 points, per game, but their 106 points tonight was their highest point total since a 113-81 win at Sacramento a few weeks ago.
The Lakers made 31 of 73 shots (42.5%) including 7/17 from 3 point range. LA made 24 of 32 free throws. The Lakers had 34 rebounds, 15 assists, 5 steals, 8 blocks, and 15 turnovers. LA had 11 fast break points and 34 points in the paint. The Lakers only had 29 bench points.
Kobe scored 29 points, along with 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and a steal. Metta World Peace scored 15 points, along with 3 rebounds, 3 blocks, and an assist. Pau Gasol scored 13 points, and also added 8 rebounds, 2 blocks, an assist, and a steal. Forward Earl Clark added 11 points, 9 rebounds and a steal. Meeks added 9 points. Point guard Steve Nash added 7 points, 3 rebounds, 8 assists, and a steal. Howard only scored 2 points before the injury.
Memphis shot 47/96 (49%) from the field including 4 of 13 three pointers. The Grizzlies made 8 of 10 free throws. Memphis had 52 rebounds, 22 assists, 7 steals, 8 blocks, and 12 turnovers. Memphis had 13 fast break points, and 60 points in the paint. The Grizzlies had 43 points off the bench.
Forward Darrell Arthur scored a a season high 20 points off the bench, along with 9 rebounds, 3 assists, a block and a steal. Point guard Mike Conley added 19 points, 6 assists, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals. Zach Randolph added 12 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal. Rudy Gay had 12 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, and a block. Tony Allen had 12 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, an assist, and a block. Bayless added 10 point off the bench.
I don’t know if this win proves how resilient the Grizzlies are or how dysfunctional the Lakers are. Perhaps it is a combination of both. still the Grizzlies will take it. Next up, Memphis hosts the Brooklyn Nets Friday night.