Game Recap: Lakers Hold Off The Grizzlies Down The Stretch
The Lakers end their four game road trip in Memphis against the Grizzlies. The Lakers have struggled so far, going 1-2 in the first three games after their loss last night to the Atlanta Hawks. The Grizzlies will be without their primary playmaker in point guard Mike Conley as well as center Marc Gasol.
The Grizzlies are still a veteran team with Zach Randolph and Tony Allen. These teams met in November with the Grizzlies prevailing 89-86 in Los Angeles.
The good and bad of Kobe Bryant was on display early in the quarter as he had two quick turnovers on horrible passes that had no chance of reaching their destination. He also hit a beautiful fadeaway jumper over Tony Allen. Kosta Koufos was also a beast on the boards early, picking up three offensive rebounds in the first five minutes. A beautiful move down low from Pau gave the Lakers a 14-11 lead midway through the quarter. The Lakers were clicking on all cylinders early, shooting 11-16 from the field while holding the Grizzlies to only 7-19. Kobe went back to the locker room after being subbed out for Xavier Henry, but it was only to stay warm, not because of any injury concern. Nick Young continued his torrid play off the bench with nine points in the first quarter including two three-pointers. The Lakers led by as many as 15 in the quarter, and held a ten point lead at the end of the first, 34-24.
The Lakers shooting cooled off slightly to start the quarter. They also continued to struggle on the offensive glass as the Grizzlies continued to pile up the offensive rebounds. The Grizzlies started the quarter shooting 6-10 and quickly cut the Laker lead to four points. Kobe continued his terrible passing as his turnover numbers continue to climb and a 10-2 Grizzlies run capped by a Mike Miller three pointer cut the lead to three points halfway through the second. The Lakers offense was completely stagnant this quarter with only 12 points through the first nine minutes. Somehow the Lakers were able to keep the Grizzlies at bay thanks to some vintage Kobe plays highlighted by a beautiful pass to Gasol for an easy layup. The Lakers pushed the lead back to nine, but a couple of late turnovers allowed the Grizzlies to go into halftime trailing only by five, 52-47.
Lakers got off to a horrible start as the Grizzlies tied the game early. The Grizzlies dominance of the offensive glass continued and the Grizzlies even took a brief one-point lead on a layup and free throw by Jerryd Bayless. but the Lakers quickly responded with a 10-2 run led by the veterans Bryant and Gasol. Bryant went down to the floor battling with Tony Allen and came up holding his knee with about three minutes left in the quarter. It looked like it hyperextended briefly and despite looking in pain, Bryant would remain in the game. Some sloppy possessions by both teams marred this quarter. The Grizzlies went on a 7-0 run at the end of the quarter to tie the game at 67 heading into the fourth.
The Lakers turned the ball over before they could even get the ball inbounds to start the quarter thanks to a Henry offensive foul. The Lakers came out hot to start the quarter as Sacre attacked the basket early and drew numerous fouls hitting 5-6 free throws. The Lakers three-point shooting has been off but Meeks would hit a huge three to give the Lakers a six point lead with eight minutes remaining in the game. The Lakers started the fourth quarter with a 17-6 run that would push their lead to 11. Bryant and Gasol returned to the game midway through the quarter with the Lakers leading by seven. The Lakers turnovers woes returned in a big way as three terrible turnovers allow the Grizzlies to cut the lead down to three in the closing minutes. Mike Miller left the game with four minutes remaining after a horrible ankle turn. Gasol and Bryant led the Lakers down the stretch as Gasol looked good down low while Bryant hit a three from Nashville to put the Lakers up six with two minutes remaining. The Lakers would go on to win 96-92.