After winning two straight road games, the Los Angeles Lakers dropped back-to-back contests as a result of poor defense. The Lakers allowed 140 points to Dallas in an embarrassing showing at The American Airlines Center last Friday and returned home for a tough loss against The Nuggets in overtime.
The Lakers had a couple of days to rest before their matchup against The Memphis Grizzlies Wednesday night. In the first meeting between both teams, The Lakers trailed by 17 in the fourth quarter before a furious comeback lead by a couple of Kobe Bryant three-pointers. Unfortunately, the Laker rally fell short as the Grizzlies escaped with a victory.
Despite coming in holding the NBA’s best record at 12-2, the Grizzlies rank 26th in three-pointers made. With the lack of an outside attack, the Lakers hoped to keep the score close but looked to contain Mike Conley and his penetration. In addition to Conley, the Grizzlies run their offense through their impressive frontcourt duo of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.
The Grizzlies won the opening tipoff and scored right away off a Tony Allen putback. On the first Laker possession, Carlos Boozer responded by hitting a mid range shot. Boozer quickly picked up two fouls within the opening three minutes and Ed Davis entered the game. Jeremy Lin was aggressive, hitting two threes and another field goal to give the Lakers an early 10-9 lead. Davis did his best to keep the Lakers ahead with two blocks on the same defensive possession which lead to a Nick Young three on the other end. Young would hit his second three with just over three minutes left in the quarter to bring the Laker lead to 19-14. The Lakers would finish the quarter on a strong note getting contributions from Jordan Hill and Ronnie Price while also shooting 50 percent as a team from the field. As a result, the Lakers enjoyed 26-21 lead.
Robert Sacre started the scoring for the Lakers with a tip-in. Price stole the ball and dunked it with his left hand to send the fans to their feet in The Staples Center. However, The Grizzles made a comeback midway through the second quarter to cut the score to 36-34 Lakers with a little over six minutes remaining. As the Lakers came out of a timeout, Boozer went to the hole and drew a foul and would miss both free throws. After a Grizzles miss, Lin would take the ball the length of the court and draw a foul streaking to the rim. He would hit both shot attempts for his 9th and 10th points. Hill came up with a loose ball and converted on a layup and then blocked Marc Gasol which lead to a fast break. After another loose ball, Kobe ended up with two free throws to make the Laker lead seven. A Memphis missed three lead to a wide open Kobe layup for his fourth point of the night. Kobe drew a technical foul after reacting to a missed call by the referee. After the free throw, Randolph converted on a three-point play. Lin hit his 12th point of the night on a pull-up jumper, but Mike Conley hit a long two-pointer to make the score 49-46. Kobe added two more free throws to make the score going into the half 51-46.
THe half opened with a turnover by Kobe that lead to a Memphis layup. Hill capitalized on a layup off of a loose ball and Wes Johnson created a turnover of his own that lead to a huge jam on the break. After some gritty play by the Grizzles they again cut the lead to three before Boozer hit another of his patented jumpers from 17 feet. Gasol scored two layups in a row to tie the game and Courtney Lee converted on a fast break after a steal to take the lead for the Grizzlies. Kobe hit his seventh and eighth free throws of the night to make tie the score 6o-60. After a Randolph layup, Kobe hit his first three of the night. Kobe hit another three on a fast break to take the lead briefly before Allen made a layup to tie it again. Young buried a three of his own after Memphis hit one from the outside. The Grizzles made a shot from beyond the arc for a third consecutive three before Kobe attacked the rim for a layup. He was looking for his shot in the third period with five shot attempts with 90 seconds remaining compared to five shots attempted in the entire first half. Byron Scott would take Kobe out to rest with the score 74-71. Four Gasol free throws would put the Grizzlies up by seven before Wayne Ellington would hit a three to put them within four. However, Gasol hit a jumper as time expired to make the score 80-74.
The Lakers opened up the quarter with a Price layup as the second unit would look to scrap their way back into the ball game. Price would score his ninth point of the game on an aggressive attack at the basket to finish on a left handed layup. A Gasol free throw and a Vince Carter three made the lead seven, but Price remained in attack mode for another layup. Davis recorded another tenacious block off of the backboard and Young hit a jumper as Kobe came back into the game with seven and half minutes left in the game. Two Kobe free throws would cut the lead to two points. Kobe would attack the rim for a layup but Conley hit a floater to extend the lead to six. However, with two minutes to play, Young would be fouled on a three point attempt. Young would make all three free throws, but a Gasol jumper would keep the Grizzlies ahead by five. Lin would split a pair of free throws as both teams traded a couple of misses and the Lakers remained behind by four with under a minute remaining. The Lakers got another stop but turned the ball over on offense. Mike Conley knocked down two free throws to ice the game as the Grizzlies defeated the Lakers 99-93.[divide]
Kobe Bryant After The Loss, “It’s Frustrating, Period.”