With the Lakers fighting for the eighth and final playoff spot every game gets more and more important. On Friday night, with news that the Utah Jazz had already defeated the Hornets earlier in the evening, the Lakers had to defeat Memphis to keep hold of the eighth spot in the Western Conference.
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Los Angeles was able to do that, beating the Grizzlies 86-84 in a nail-biter at the Staples Center. Following the action, Kobe credited the team’s defense as the main reason for the victory.
“We did a good job all night long, actually. Our defense was very solid. We did a good job of putting them in situations where they had to make tough plays.”
The team defense did look much better against Memphis than we’ve seen most of the season. The Lakers held the Grizzlies to 84 points, and just 39 points in the first half. The Lakers, who have struggled mightily on defense for much of the season, allow 101.3 points per game, which is 24th out of 30 NBA teams. Still, Bryant knows the defense won the game on Friday.
“It’s no accident that we won this game.”
Speaking of defense, Earl Clark’s block in the fourth quarter prompted Laker color commentator Stu Lantz to dub it the play of the year.
Bryant and the Lakers will rest up on Saturday before taking on the Clippers on Sunday afternoon at the Staples Center.
In case you missed it, be sure to check out Shaq’s jersey retirement press conference!
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