The losing streak continues in Memphis, TN as the Memphis Grizzlies would fall to the Los Angeles Lakers 96-92. This would be the first game this season without Mike Conley as he has a left thigh contusion. More bad news for the Grizzlies as Tayshaun Prince and Mike Miller would leave the game with injuries.
Memphis’ main problem of the night is Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol put up fascinating numbers that showed glimpses of the old duo that won multiple championships in Los Angeles. Bryant tied his highest scoring input of the season since his return from a torn Achilles with 21 points (9-of-18 FG) along with five rebounds and four assists. Gasol would have 21 points (9-of-12 FG) while also adding nine rebounds and two assists.
“Kobe looked great today, Pau was big down the stretch,” said Tony Allen after game.
Coach Dave Joerger has talked about in the past that his team needs to get the energy going from the start and they were not able to do it.
“From the start of the game, we battled hard after we took a hit. That’s a couple of games in a row. We cannot come out and wait, especially at home, to take a hit. We are letting teams get up by shooting the basketball and getting loose balls. They are getting after us instead of us getting after them,” Joerger said on tonight’s game.
The Grizzlies defense was a key problem for that 15-4 streak. Grizzlies forward Ed Davis had trouble all night guarding Gasol which led to Joerger switching matchups and had Zach Randolph guarding Gasol.
Randolph had his third consecutive double-double with 18 points and a season-high 16 rebounds, including six offensive rebounds. He now has a double-double in 11 of his last 15 games played. Tonight would be the first time this season where the Grizzlies would lose when Randolph led the team in scoring.
The Memphis bench is producing better minutes and more points. Memphis’ bench outscored Los Angeles bench’ 43-32, marking just the fourth time this season that opponent’s bench has outscored the Lakers’ bench. The Grizzlies entered receiving an average of 30.9 points per game on the season from its bench.
Jon Leuer came off the bench to post 13 points (5-of-9 FG) to go along with seven rebounds. Leuer has now hit double figures in points in a career-high six consecutive games.
Jerryd Bayless had a better performance than he has had in the past with 13 points (5-of-9 FG) and would go 3-of-4 from three-point range. Having Conley out for possible for a few more games this is a performance you need from Bayless and hopefully he gets better and gets his shot back.
Nick Calathes had his best performance of the year with 10 points (4-of-6 FG) and five assists. He told me after the game that tonight was a big confidence booster for him and knows he needs to get better as they travel to Dallas.
So now what happens next for this Grizzlies team? Despite the loss they are finding ways to get energy on the floor and creating shots. There were glimpses of Grit and Grind basketball and fans hope it continues to the point of a victory soon. The defense needs to step up for four entire quarters and defend 3-point shots.
So everyone say a prayer that nobody else on this team gets hurt and everyone stays healthy. Believe Memphis.