The Lakers were just too big for the Grizzlies. Lamar Odom posted a double-double off the bench and Pau Gasol outdid his brother Marc as the Lakers rode a significant size advantage to a runaway fourth quarter and a big victory.
“All that ‘woe is the Lakers’ should be spoken very lightly… They played championship defense tonight,” Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said.
The Laker defense was the second team in a row to hold Memphis to 39% shooting, and held forward Zach Randolph to only 8 points and 12 rebounds (Randolph averages 20 points and 13.2 rebounds).
Sam Young led the Grizzlies in scoring and shots, with 22 points on 9 of 19 shooting. Rudy Gay added 18 points and 8 rebounds.
Despite problems underneath, the Grizzlies managed to stay in the game until midway through the fourth quarter, but just could not finish their runs.
After receiving a technical foul at the end of the third quarter for complaining about Kobe Bryant having stolen the ball, Rudy Gay grew up fast with a late third-quarter three and scored the first basket of the fourth to put the Grizzlies within three points.
No team scored for almost two minutes until two Kobe Bryant free throws extended the Laker lead back to five.
Three minutes later, Tony Allen slammed home a two-handed dunk off a pass from Rudy Gay to cut the deficit back to two. The crowd exploded. The team was almost there.
But not to be. Two possessions later Lamar Odom made a three from the corner to extend the lead back to five. Memphis never got close again.
J-Will Back with Grizzlies
Veteran point guard and Grizzlies all time assist leader Jason Williams officially signed with the team last night. He was at the game in street clothes and is traveling with the team to Oklahoma City. Here is a picture.
Also at the game…
Last night felt pretty epic, even for a Laker game. UPPER media row was almost completely full (note: this never happens). Captain Morgan was there with some… Captain Morgan girls. Ronald McDonald was doing the black history month thing again (which is weird… his face is painted white!) The Grizz had this year’s blue rally flags waving and, oh, Snoop Dogg was in the house.
Snoop took his seat about halfway through the third quarter and didn’t leave until late in the fourth when the game was decided. His show at Minglewood Hall was scheduled to start at 8p.m., Snoop left the forum around 10 p.m. Go figure.
It got Artest-y… but just for a minute.
Things were getting intense under the basket as the Lakers pressed their length advantage and the Grizzlies struggled to gain ground. First Darrell Arthur took a shot to the lip that required a stoppage of play. Then Ron Artest.
Artest took a forearm to the face from Marc Gasol. Totally unintentional, but Artest’s eyes and body language suddenly reminded everyone in the crowd of his infamous melee in Detroit. Eventually, Artest was taken back to the bench and attended to, and by the time he came back in the game he greeted the younger Gasol with a fist-bump. Disaster averted.
Dunk of the Game
The Tony Allen dunk mentioned earlier. After that thing, it really looked like the Grizzlies were going to do it. Allen hung on the rim for a good 3 seconds after the jam, jawing at the ref below that he thought he had also been fouled. The ref simply motioned for him to go on.
Snoop Dogg was in full Lakers gear for the game… Rudy vs. Kobe was looking interesting for about 6 minutes, until the teams switched up and put their stoppers on the superstars. A few minutes later Rudy was forced to leave the game with sore ribs… Darrell Arthur was still get checked out by team doctors after the game… Sources informed me Bryant spend a lot of time at Silk O’Sullivan’s Oyster bar on Saturday night. Bryant finished with 19 points.
The loss puts the Grizzlies 1 and a half games out of the final western conference playoff spot and only only game above .500. The Grizzlies play again tonight at Oklahoma City.
All photos by Chase Gustafson for Memphisport.