Marc Gasol's NBA-leading Grizzlies barely hold off West-worst Lakers, 99-93
LOS ANGELES – Marc Gasol had 19 points and 11 rebounds, Mike Conley added 19 points and the Memphis Grizzlies held off the Los Angeles Lakers 99-93 Wednesday night for their seventh victory in eight games.
Zach Randolph scored 16 points for the Grizzlies, who improved to 13-2 and kept pace with Toronto atop the overall NBA standings. But Western Conference-leading Memphis barely survived a strong effort from the 15th-place Lakers, who kept it close throughout a tense fourth quarter.
Coming off back-to-back 30-point games, Gasol scored 16 points in the second half, including 12 in the third quarter while the Grizzlies moved ahead.
Kobe Bryant scored 22 points for the Lakers, who have lost seven of nine. Los Angeles dropped to 1-7 at Staples Center after missing several chances to seize control in the fourth quarter.
The NBA's worst defensive team held the Grizzlies to six field goals in the fourth, and the Lakers trailed 97-93 after Jeremy Lin's free throws with 1:41 left. But Los Angeles' offense flopped down the stretch, capped by Bryant's brutal turnover with 16 seconds left.
Lin scored 14 points, and Nick Young had 13 on 4-for-14 shooting.
The Lakers opened with one of their better halves of the season, taking a 51-46 lead with balanced scoring and solid defense that didn't exist in most of their previous efforts. They did it without much help from Bryant, who took his first shot and scored his first points about three minutes before halftime.
Bryant picked up a technical foul for arguing before he finished the half with an eight-point flurry.
Grizzlies: Memphis went 5 for 22 on 3-pointers. ... The Grizzlies beat the Lakers in Memphis on Nov. 11. ... Compton native Tayshaun Prince had two points in nine minutes.
Lakers: Although they haven't formally announced they're bringing back Earl Clark, the forward posted a photo of himself in his Lakers jersey on Instagram. With Xavier Henry's torn Achilles tendon on Monday, Los Angeles has lost three players to season-ending injuries already, and Clark had the best season of his five-year NBA career with the Lakers in 2012-13. Clark went to training camp with Memphis, but was waived last month. ... Carlos Boozer returned after missing one game with a strained left shoulder.
Grizzlies: At Portland on Friday.
Lakers: Host Minnesota on Friday.