Wednesday night was the start of the second half of the season. According to Dwight Howard, the season would “start today.” This was a few days after Mike D’Antoni said their season would start “Sunday” (the 13th).
There are a lot of things to fix if they want to get into the postseason. Dwight Howard has since apologized for his immaturity (he complained about his shot count in last Monday’s loss against Chicago). There are also trade rumors going around about Dwight and Pau Gasol, who isn’t exactly happy about going to the bench but understood that it was for the team. GM Mitch Kupchak thinks that it’s all about the effort, not coaching that’s killing the Lakers.
Whatever it may be, did they get it fixed against the very rough-and-tumble Memphis Grizzlies? Let’s check out the recap.
That player meeting seemed to work for them early. The Lakers were defending like gangbusters as the Grizzlies turned the ball over four times in the first three minutes.
Lakers probably haven’t strung together this many stops all season long. … LAL 6, MEM 0 with 9:39 left in 1Q.
— KEVIN DING (@KevinDing) January 24, 2013
But the Grizzlies took advantage of the Lakers’ poor shooting and were able to catch the Lakers in 11. They exchanged baskets for a while, countering each other with jumpers. Darrell Arthur made a basket to put the Grizzlies up, 18-16. At the time, the Grizz bench outscored the Lakers, 11-0.
Kobe Bryant was hot to start the game. He went 5-6 and scored 12 points in the first quarter. But at the end of that period, the Grizzlies were hanging on to the lead, 24-23.
The Lakers once again defended pretty well. Pau Gasol made back-to-back buckets that helped the Lakers to a 30-28 lead. Later on, he would make a beautiful spin move.
But the Grizzlies started forcing turnovers and showing that “grit and grind.” They rattled off an 18-3 run and buried L.A. in a double-digit lead. A Tony Wroten dunk surprised everybody and that was followed by a Tony Allen breakaway jam. Mike Conley also made a few jumpers. It was clearly the Grizzlies’ momentum at that point. Here’s Mike Bresnahan from the Los Angeles Times.
Tony Wroten has left the game. Now maybe the Lakers have a chance.
— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) January 24, 2013
Kobe continued to stay hot and helped cut the Grizzlies lead down to single digits. Nash made a three to cut into the lead even more. But the Grizzlies capitalized on more Laker turnovers, and the latest brought them a wide-open made three by Rudy Gay. At the end of the half, the Grizzlies held on to a 59-50 lead.
But before the half ended, Dwight reaggravated his shoulder and went to the locker room. Then this was revealed…
Dwight Howard re-aggravated his right shoulder injury and will not return tonight. He’ll be re-evaluated in Los Angeles tomorrow.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) January 24, 2013
They were going to have to try to win the game without Dwight’s defense.
It was nice to see Kobe Bryant take it to the basket. They really should do that more often. His back-to-back lay-ups cut the lead down to 61-56.
Lakers going to keep it close so they can crush my soul again
— Rusty (@RustyC724) January 24, 2013
Kobe stayed hot on the offensive end but the Laker had many breakdowns on the defensive and and boxing out. It would’ve also been nice to show some effort on transition defense. Despite the Metta World Peace three and beautiful Kobe fadeaways, Memphis still led, 69-63, halfway through the third.
Steve Nash would miss his first foul shot of the season. And the Grizz big men kept pounding on the boards and inside. Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, and Darrell Arthur would all make baskets to put Memphis back up 10.
The Grizzlies got up 13 before Jodie Meeks eased the pain just a little bit (Meeks was alive?!) with a three-pointer. After a scramble at the Grizzlies’ end, Memphis led the Lakers, 83-73, at the end of three.
Would the Lakers lose their fourth straight game?
The Lakers sank deeper into the abyss in the fourth quarter.
Backstage: Lakers is currently doing some of the best ironic comedy on television.
— Alex Muniz (@asmuniz) January 24, 2013
Just turned on the Lakers game about 5 minutes ago and I already puked from watching. This team sucks man
— Zach Mentz (@ZachMentz) January 24, 2013
YOU GUYS HAVE TO SEE THIS DIVE PAU JUST MISSED ON.
— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) January 24, 2013
It didn’t even seem like much of a dive. He just… fell.
But the Grizzlies outhustled the Lakers the entire fourth. Even when they missed calls on Kobe Bryant, the Grizzlies took advantage, waltzed in for dunks and lay-ups, and made wide-open jumpers. So much for defense.
POINTS: Kobe Bryant, 29
REBOUNDS: Earl Clark, 9
ASSISTS: Steve Nash, 7
BLOCKS: Two players with two each.
STEALS: Five players with one each.