Grizzlies Perimeter Shooting Proves too Much for Struggling Lakers
Poor shot selections and overall bad play gave the Lakers little room for error in Memphis Tuesday night as the Grizzlies came away with the victory 98-96.
The Lakers lost their third straight on Tuesday night after a lackluster first half and an angry dash to the buzzer fell short. The Lakers embarked on a short two game road trip through Memphis and Houston, surely this start to the trip wasn’t how they envisioned it.
To start the game the feeling was, this group means business; this is the perfect game for a championship caliber team to bounce back. This feeling soon faded. What was once a great opportunity turned into a Kobe Bryant vs. Grizzlies shootout. After trying to get his teammates going and failing Kobe decided to take matters into his own hands. He spent a decent part of the first half throwing up long distance threes and driving through the lane with the sole intention of hearing a whistle.
After a nightmare first half surely everyone expected this veteran championship team to burst out and make a big run. The big run did come, but not from the Lakers who seemed to have misplaced their defense at the half. The Grizzlies came out running to start the half and built a double digit lead. It wouldn’t be until the end of the quarter when the Lakers would make a small push to bring the game to within five.
To start the fourth and final quarter the Grizzlies maintained their small lead though the Lakers had stolen some momentum. A quick three followed by another dagger from long range and two free throws gave the Grizzlies another double digit lead at 12. The Lakers slowly chipped away at the lead, but for every basket they made the Grizzlies answered right back. With about six minutes left the Lakers made their last push, two threes from veteran point guard Steve Blake Brought the lead down to five. Then a Pau Gasol “and 1” brought it to within two, Mike Conley followed with a big three to push it back to five.
With one minute remaining and the Lakers down seven Ron Artest hit a huge three to pull it down to four a missed shot by OJ Mayo and a quick Kobe Bryant layup brought it to two and also brought a Memphis timeout. With 28 seconds left and the ball the Grizzlies had to like their chances, but with 7 seconds left Pau Stole the ball from his brother Marc and Kobe took off to the other end, the ball went up court to Kobe as the Lakers elected not to call a quick timeout to adjust the offense. Kobe soon was surrounded at the free-throw line he had nowhere to go but behind him to Artest. Ron caught the ball and paused, it’s that pause that allowed Rudy Gay to swing out and deflect Rons shot and the Lakers chance at victory.
Why didn’t the Lakers call for a timeout to set up a play, perhaps a screen for Kobe to pull off of to take his patented fade away buzzer beater? Instead the Lakers were handed their fifth defeat of the season and their third straight.
The clear player of the game in this one was Mike Conley who led the Grizzlies with 28 points on 13 shots and 10 makes from the field, 4 of those shots coming from long range.
The Grizzlies continue to play the Lakers tough and The Lakers continue to ask where Andrew Bynum is? Their young center is due back in the next few weeks, and with Theo Ratliff also out with injury it’s clear that the bench along with Pau Gasol are in need of a break and Andrew Bynum is surely just what their looking for.
Pro Basketball Fans Staff Writer
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