Grizzlies go west to tangle with Kobe, Lakers

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Memphis Grizzlies have established themselves as the best in the West and will put their impressive start to the test Wednesday against Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center.

Memphis will also visit Portland, Sacramento and Houston on the upcoming road trip and have dropped back-to-back road games following a 4-0 start away from home. The Grizzlies defeated LA's other team, the Clippers, on Sunday by a 107-91 score and were led by Marc Gasol, who had 30 points on 13-of-18 shooting, and grabbed 12 rebounds.

Courtney Lee and Tony Allen scored 13 and 12 points, respectively, for Memphis, which shot 49.4 percent and had a 52-32 rebounding advantage.

The 12-2 start matches the best start in franchise history (2012-13).

"Just a good solid win," Memphis coach Dave Joerger said. "It was very physical and I thought we kept our composure."

Grizzlies guard Nick Calathes made his return after serving a 20-game suspension and played eight minutes, logging zero points and one rebound.

Memphis plays tough defense and is third in opponents' scoring at 92.4 ppg.

The Lakers are allowing an NBA-worst 111.6 ppg and have lost two in a row and six of the past eight games. They opened a four-game homestand with Sunday's 101-94 overtime loss versus Denver and were led by Bryant's 27 points.

Bryant made 10-of-24 shots and leads the NBA with 26.7 ppg.

Jeremy Lin scored 17 points for the Lakers, as they shot 37 percent and made only three of their 24 shots from 3-point range. Jordan Hill had 11 points and 14 rebounds for his sixth straight double-double. He has eight this season.

"Obviously this is disappointing," said Lakers head coach Byron Scott. "We blew it at the end."

Los Angeles has lost three in a row at home, is only 1-6 as the host and will also welcome Minnesota and Toronto to town.

In injury news for LA, forward Carlos Boozer (shoulder) is questionable Wednesday and forward Ed Davis (ankle) is probable. Boozer is averaging 13.3 points and 6.5 rebounds. Boozer has hit double figures in scoring in eight of his last nine games, while Davis is posting an average of 8.0 points and 6.6 boards.

Memphis defeated the Lakers, 107-102, on Nov. 11 this season at FedExForum and Mike Conley scored 23 points for the Grizzlies. Bryant led the Lakers with 28 points. Memphis has won three straight and seven of the last nine meetings with Los Angeles.

The Grizzlies are unbeaten in their last two as the guest in this series.