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Bryant, Lakers take home floor against struggling Grizzlies

Nov 12, 2006 - 4:57 PM Memphis (1-3) at LA Lakers (4-1) 9:30 pm EST

LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- The Los Angeles Lakers never thought they would need Kobe Bryant to shoot more.

After a sluggish performance on Friday, the Lakers will take on the Memphis Grizzlies in the second game of a five-game homestand on Saturday.

The reigning scoring champion, Bryant attempted just four shots and scored two points through the first three quarters in Friday's 97-83 loss to the Detroit Pistons. He finished with 19 points on 5-of-11 shooting, but it wasn't enough.

Trailing by 15 points entering the fourth quarter, the Lakers cut the deficit to 86-76 on two free throws by Bryant with 2:39 remaining. However, Los Angeles would get no closer as the Pistons pulled away down the stretch.

Bryant is recovering from offseason knee surgery, and has yet to return to form after missing the entire preseason.

At least Bryant is on the court, as the Grizzlies are without star center Pau Gasol and struggling to open the season. A playoff team in 2005-06, Memphis has won just once in its first four contests.

Chucky Atkins had 20 points to lead the Grizzlies, who dropped a 96-87 decision to the struggling Phoenix Suns on Saturday.

Memphis rattled off a 20-0 run early in the fourth to cut what had been a commanding 91-60 advantage to 91-80 with 4:05 left. Shawn Marion finally stopped the surge with a 3-pointer to restore the lead to 14 and Memphis could get no closer than seven thereafter.

The Lakers have lost three straight against the Grizzlies at home.

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