89 - 99 Final
  for this game

Bryant, Lakers snap rare skid

Mar 4, 2009 - 7:36 AM LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Losing streaks have been few and far between for the Los Angeles Lakers. Having already dropped two games in a row, they weren't about to let it get to three.

The reigning Western Conference champs put an end to their brief skid, getting back on track with a 99-89 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night.

Kobe Bryant scored 31 points in 30 minutes, getting the opportunity to sit for the entire the fourth quarter as his supporting cast put the game away, with the Lakers drawing to within one victory of the 50-win mark.

"The important thing is to get back on track," Bryant said. "You don't want to compile mistakes or add the losses. Two (losses) is good enough."

With Kobe on the bench, Los Angeles caught fire, turning a competitive ballgame into a lopsided affair during the early minutes of the fourth quarter. Josh Powell's 19-footer sparked a 12-2 run that was capped off by Sasha Vujacic's 3-pointer to open up a 90-69 lead.

"Our offense is a little bit rusty here and there just playing together and moving the ball and creating things for ourselves," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "The bench came in, got the crowd ignited a little bit and played pretty well."

Memphis cut into the lead with some hot shooting thereafter, but never posed too much of a threat that Kobe had to make an encore. Pau Gasol posted 13 points and eight boards against his former team, while Lamar Odom collected 13 rebounds and eight assists despite scoring just two points.

"The strength of our team this year is our depth," Odom said. "Tonight was an example of that. It was a good game where everybody gets to play. It's good practice and we want to have more nights like this."

After winning 13 of 14 during about a month-long stretch, the Lakers had fallen twice in three nights - on the road against Denver and Phoenix, two clubs grappling for playoff positioning in the West. A return home was apparently just what Los Angeles needed.

"Games like this are important, not so much for rest, but for our bench to get in there and play, get some camaraderie and get some rhythm," Bryant said.

The Lakers looked like they might run away with it early, storming ahead midway through the first quarter. Derek Fisher tied the game with a 3-pointer at the 5:43 mark, sparking a 17-2 run in the process. Kobe took control on the next few possessions, pulling up for an 11-footer and finding Gasol underneath for a dunk to put L.A. on top by three.

"We did not have a plan of attack (defensively). We just came out and were going to play our game and try to be aggressive and try to deny the ball where we could," Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. "When you play against a triangle, you cannot say you are going to stop one player. They have a lot of (good) players and that is why they are one of the top teams in the league."

After Gasol swiped Hakim Warrick on the other end, the Lakers went right back to their star and he buried a 16-footer, then connected from long range one possession later.

The Grizzlies could never respond with an explosive run of their own, but they remained within striking distance - close enough to give themselves a chance but not close enough to put much of a scare into the confident Lakers.

"For us to come in here and be only down five at halftime and be in the game as we go down the stretch (was great)," Hollins said. "It would have taken a miracle; we would have had to play a perfect game to win."

O.J. Mayo led the charge for Memphis, finishing with 17 points on 5-of-12 shooting, while fellow rookie Marc Gasol added 17 and 14 boards.

  • 15
    MattDOOM777 Added 5 roots

    Grizzlies 89, Lakers 99  FinalMar 4 1:07 AM

  • NBA
    MEMPHIS 89

    Mar 4 12:56 AM

  • NBA
    MEMPHIS 67

    Mar 4 12:27 AM
  • 10
    #1 Cards Fan Added 10 roots

    Grizzlies 65, Lakers 74  3rd - 1:23Mar 4 12:23 AM

  • NBA
    MEMPHIS 47

    Mar 3 11:44 PM

  • NBA
    MEMPHIS 19

    Mar 3 11:13 PM