The Los Angeles Lakers began their 2015 by hosting the Memphis Grizzlies Friday night. It was the third time the two team faced each other this season with the Lakers falling to the Grizzlies in the previous two meetings.
Ed Davis suffered a broken nose in the Lakers’ last game but still started Friday’s game. As a result of the injury, Davis wore a mask for protection. Ryan Kelly also made his return to the lineup Friday after recovering from his hamstring injuries.
As for the Grizzlies, they were without one of the bruisers as Zach Randolph sat out the game. Despite missing Randolph, the Grizzlies came into the game with a record of 23-8 while the Lakers held a 10-22 mark.
Davis scored the first Laker basket with a layup but the Lakers found themselves down early 3-2. The Lakers continued to get points in the paint after Kobe Bryant found Wesley Johnson for layup while Ronnie Price hit Davis for another bucket. Davis also made his presence felt on the defensive end by rejected a Tony Allen layup into the stands. As the quarter reached the halfway point, the Lakers held a 10-9 lead. Following a timeout, the Lakers scored seven unanswered points to stretch their lead to eight forcing the Grizzlies to think things over. Carlos Boozer kept the Lakers run going with a jumper before Courtney Lee ended the Grizzlies drought with a three pointer. The Grizzlies cut the Laker lead to three but Nick Young responded by hitting his first shot of the game. Jeremy Lin added to the lead by finishing a layup as the Lakers ended the quarter on top 25-22.
A Lin jumper gave the Lakers two points to open the second quarter. The ensuing defensive possession saw Lin dive for the steal which resulted in a Wayne Ellington dunk. Lin’s hot start continued as he hit his next two shots, the second being a three pointer to bring the Laker lead to 12 with the score being 34-22. The Lakers allowed the Grizzlies the come within four before Jordan Hill found Ellington for a jumper of his own. Lin made another tough layup which was followed by Young picking up a foul and hitting a jumper as the Lakers enjoyed a 41-35 lead as an official timeout was taken. Young couldn’t convert on the three point play. Tony Allen had the opportunity to cut the lead to four but missed four straight layups as the Grizzlies couldn’t finish in transition. Kelly made his return in the closing minutes of the quarter and quickly grabbed a defensive rebound and drew a foul while while trying to get an offensive rebound on the other end. He scored his first points after finishing a layup off a Bryant bounce pass. As the half came to a close, the Lakers lead by five, 52-47.
The Lakers missed their first shot of the quarter as Hill’s shot fell short but converted their next attempt when Hill found Wes Johnson in the corner for a long two. After only taking four shots in the first half, Bryant came out looking to shoot more hitting two of his first three shots of the half to give the Lakers a 59-51 lead. The Grizzlies scored five unanswered until Ronnie Price stole the ball from Mike Conley and found himself with an easy two points on the other end. The Laker lead was cut to just one following back to back layups from Allen and Marc Gasol as the midway point approached. A Lee layup put the Grizzlies on top 65-64, but Carlos Boozer gave the Lakers the lead back two possessions later. With the Grizzlies continuing their run, the Lakers fell behind by four when Bryant made a layup while drawing a foul on Tayshaun Prince. Lin gave the Lakers the lead again after getting a steal and finishing a layup on the transition. Another good play by Lin ended with a Boozer dunk just before the buzzer ended, but the quarter would come to an end with the Lakers trailing 80-75.
After missing their first three shots of the quarter, the Lakers finally scored when Ellington got a basket plus a foul. By that time however, the Grizzlies stretched their lead to seven behind made baskets from Kosta Koufos and Quincy Pondexter. The Lakers continued to struggle on the defensive end as Mike Conley scored on two straight trips to put the Grizzlies out in front 91-84. After Boozer brought the Lakers within five, he picked up his sixth foul of the night and had to sit out the rest of the game. A Lin triple brought the score to 94-91, but the Lakers continued to surrender points on defense. Hill picked up a technical arguing a foul call which allowed the Grizzlies to go up by six with just under five minutes remaining. Young had a nice sequence by nailing a three, getting a steal, and finishing a layup to bring themselves within one before Conley responded with a three of his own. Two straight layups by Davis made it a two point game with two and a half left. Another Davis basket in the paint kept the Lakers within two into the final minute. Bryant hit a triple to with 24 seconds left to make it a one point game. Down two with 11 seconds left, the Lakers turned to Bryant who found Davis down low. Davis was fouled and sent to the line and missed the second. Bryant had the chance to send the game to overtime but missed as the Lakers fell 109-106.[divide]
VIDEO: Byron Scott Post-Game – Talks Miscommunication In Final Minute