After losing 111-99 to the Denver Nuggets, the Lakers open an important four-game home-stand against the Memphis Grizzlies. With the Lakers 4-6 to start the season, they will need to capitalize without Steve Nash for at least two weeks. While some anticipated Kobe Bryant would return tonight, head coach Mike D’Antoni revealed prior to the game that Bryant has only done light shooting and likely won’t return by Thanksgiving.
Both teams began the game with great energy as they changed leads eight times early in the quarter. However, the Grizzles got multiple defensive stops and were able to get out to an early seven point lead. Heading into the second quarter, the Lakers trail 24-17 as they only shot 30 percent from the field. Pau Gasol currently leads the Lakers with 6 points and 5 rebounds.
The shooting woes continued as the Lakers were unable to cut into the deficit and the Grizzlies were able to extend their lead to 10. Midway through the quarter, Nick Young and Jodie Meeks made back-to-back threes to cut the deficit to only four points. With the Grizzlies having 20 points in the paint, the Lakers’ defense started to clamp down and Zach Randolph was rejected on two straight possessions. The Lakers would go on a 6-0 run to end the half capped off with a Nick Young jumper over Quincy Pondexter. At the half, the Lakers and Grizzlies are tied at 40 apiece.
Both teams started the second half slowly, but the Lakers were finally able to get the lead with a nice post move by Jordan Hill. While the teams traded leads again, Pau Gasol registered another double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds midway through the third. With the Lakers looking for some offense, Jodie Meeks scored 12 points to spark a 7-0 run and earn a five point lead. Despite five turnovers in the quarter, the Lakers lead 66-63.
Like the first three quarters, both teams struggled on the offensive end and continued to change leads. With the Lakers trailing by four points, Shawne Williams shook out of his poor shooting streak and delivered two timely three-pointers to help Los Angeles regain the lead. With less than three minutes in the game, the Grizzles would go to Randolph often in the post and gain a four point lead. However, Meeks would convert a three pointer to cut the lead to one with less than two minutes left. With a chance to gain the lead, Steve Blake missed a jump shot near the free-throw line and Hill received a loose ball foul. On the following possession, Randolph was able to get into the middle of the paint and pushed the Grizzlies’ lead back to three. With sixteen seconds left in the game, Steve Blake missed the potential game-tying shot off the inbounds play and Randolph was able to seal the victory with two free-throws. The Lakers lose 89-86.
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