115 - 98 Final
  for this game

Lakers top Grizzlies after losing Bynum

Feb 1, 2009 - 5:47 AM By Shawn Pachucki PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (Ticker) -- In a game more likely to remembered for the big man they lost, the Los Angeles Lakers got everything they needed out of All-Star Pau Gasol.

Gasol made 9-of-13 shots for 24 points and pulled down eight rebounds to lead Los Angeles to a 115-98 triumph over the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night.

The Lakers won for the sixth time in seven games despite losing Andrew Bynum in the first quarter with a "sprained" right knee.

Bynum was carried to the locker room at the 6:55 mark after getting barreled into by Kobe Bryant. Bryant rolled over his leg on an off-balance drive to the basket while Bynum was getting position for the rebound.

Standing on a crutch with the knee heavily wrapped in ice after the game, Bynum was looking forward to finding out more after an MRI in New York on Sunday.

"I have to be optimistic," said Bynum, whose season ended at around the same point last season after he dislocated the kneecap on his opposite leg. "I just want to get back as soon as possible."

"Hopefully, Andrew will be back soon. But in the meantime, we all have to step up," said Gasol, who will surely see more minutes at the center position as he did during the Lakers' run to the NBA Finals last season.

Head coach Phil Jackson called the injury "a great disappointment."

"Everyone knows we're probably going to have to go on for a quite a while without him," Jackson said.

Coming off their best scoring night of the season - a 132-119 win at Minnesota on Friday - the loss of Bynum seemed to deflate the Lakers as they allowed Memphis to shoot 57 percent and build a 13-point lead during the first half.

The Lakers regrouped at halftime, though, and wasted little time before making their push in the second half.

Down, 78-77, with 5:19 to go in the third, Gasol hit back-to-back baskets during a 10-0 stretch to put Los Angeles back on top. Leading, 91-82, after three quarters, the Lakers scored the first nine points in the final quarter to all but hand the Grizzlies their 12th consecutive loss.

"We came out with a much better mentality in the second half. Defensively we did a much better job," Gasol said. "We executed better on both sides of the floor."

The Lakers held a 60-37 advantage after the break and scored 24 points off 14 turnovers by the Grizzlies.

"The first half had a lot to do with our turnovers and transition defense," said Bryant, who netted 16 of his 25 points in the third and fourth quarters. "The second half we were able to collect ourselves and get back to what we're used to doing."

Bryant finished 10-of-20 from the floor to go with seven assists. Lamar Odom came off the bench with 13 points and six rebounds for the Lakers, who earned their third straight road victory.

Rudy Gay led the Grizzlies with 23 points, while rookie star O.J. Mayo added 21 for Memphis, losers of 20 of its last 22 games.

"The Lakers stepped up their intensity," Memphis head coach Lionel Hollins said. "We were a little tired. We quit thinking and executing."

The Grizzlies surrendered 100-plus points for the 10th time during their losing streak - the NBA's longest.

"In the first half, they were kind of shocked because Andrew went down," said Grizzlies rookie center Marc Gasol, who finished with 13 points and three rebounds in his second matchup with his older brother, Pau.

"In the second half, they just got stronger and executed better than us."

Bryant had a hard time finding his stroke early, going 3-of-10 in the first 24 minutes, while also having his hands full defensively with Mayo.

Leading, 44-43, midway through the second, Mayo scored seven of his 15 first-half points inside a 15-3 spurt.

The Lakers answered with a 9-2 run over the final 2:43 to cut the deficit to 61-55 at the break.

Bynum had scored seven points in the first five minutes before the injury.

The reigning Western Conference Player of the Week, Bynum entered the game averaging better than 26 points and nearly 14 rebounds in his last five games.

"It didn't feel as bad (as last year's knee injury). No pops," Bynum said. "I just have to be optimistic. I want to get back to doing the things I was doing."

"I feel bad for him because he was playing so well," Bryant said. "As far as us as a ballclub, we know what we have to do because we've done it before. He doesn't deserve it. Hopefully, it's nothing too severe and he can get back soon and pick up where he left off."