Bryant leads Lakers past Grizzlies

Updated: December 18, 2013

Memphis, TN ( – Kobe Bryant played well in the second game
of a back-to-back and finished with 21 points on 9-of-18 shooting as the Los
Angeles Lakers downed the struggling Memphis Grizzlies, 96-92, on Tuesday.

Pau Gasol added 21 points and nine rebounds and Nick Young came off the bench
and provided 18 points for the Lakers, who bounced back from Monday’s 114-100
setback in Atlanta.

Zach Randolph led the Grizzlies with 18 points, 16 rebounds and five assists,
but Memphis is still mired in a 1-6 slump, with five of those losses coming on
its home floor.

Bryant, who netted just eight points in Tuesday’s loss, appeared to injure his
left leg late in the third quarter — the same leg in which he tore his
Achilles last April.

The future Hall-of-Famer walked to the bench gingerly and watched the Lakers’
reserves build a double-digit lead early in the fourth, with Young’s 3-pointer
giving the visitors an 84-73 cushion with 7 1/2 minutes to play.

A quick 8-0 run brought the Grizzlies back within one possession, as Jerryd
Bayless got a couple of runners to fall, Tony Allen put in a layup off a
turnover and Bayless added a pull-up jumper to cap the rally.

Bryant was back in the floor at this point and made his presence known with a
shot clock-beating 3-pointer to put the Lakers on top, 91-85, with 2:39 on the

“I know I’m back when a slew of jumpers start going, especially against a
defender like Tony Allen who is draped all over and is very physical. That’s
when I know I’m starting to feel good,” Bryant said.

Allen lost an easy defensive rebound out of bounds with 1:06 remaining, and a
miss by Bayless the next time down ended any chance of a Memphis comeback.

The Lakers had a terrific start as they shot 14-of-22 (63.6 percent) in the
opening quarter and raced out to a 15-point lead, 34-19.

“What I wasn’t pleased with was that we eased into a game that we needed to
start quickly,” Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger said.

Memphis rookie Nick Calathes hit a 3-pointer and drove in for a layup in the
final minute of the period, and Jon Leuer connected from long range to start
the second, pulling the Grizzlies within 34-27.

It was a 52-47 game in the Lakers’ favor at halftime, and a futile third
quarter from both offenses yielded a tie game, 67-67, heading to the fourth.

Game Notes

Grizzlies forward Mike Miller limped to the locker room late in the fourth
quarter after turning his ankle … Memphis guard Mike Conley sat out with a
left thigh contusion … The Lakers a 2-4 since Bryant returned from Achilles
surgery … Allen finished with 16 points.