Lakers vs Memphis: Lakers pull out victory over Memphis
The Lakers didn't want to let the Memphis Grizzlies be the only team in the NBA to beat them three times this season.
Knowing that they had lost the last two games to the Grizzlies, the Lakers worked hard to get the victory and to improve to 2-0 on this seven-game, 13-day trip.
All five Lakers' starters scored in double figures, as did sixth man Lamar Odom reached double figures.
Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 19 points and seven rebounds and Pau Gasol finished with 17 points and nine rebounds.
The Lakers saw their lead cut to 78-76 on a basket by Tony Allen.
Rather than become rattled, the Lakers went on an 11-0 run to open an 89-76 lead.
Most impressive in the run was a three-pointer by Odom, a three-pointer by Ron Artest, who finished with 13 points, and a three-point play by Odom (15 points, 11 rebounds) in which he scored on a layup and made the free throw.
Lakers 73, Grizzlies 68 (end of third quarter)
Ron Artest almost lost his composure late in the third quarter after he made a good defensive play.
Artest ripped the ball out of Marc Gasol's hands. Gasol then hit Artest in the face, drawing blood.
Artest ran all the way down to the other side of the court and then looked back at Gasol, looking angry.
When Lakers trainer Gary Vitti came out to tend to Artest, he pushed him away.
Eventually Artest calmed down and shot two free throws. He missed both and then came out of the game.
Artest and Gasol then made up by tapping fists.
The Lakers built a 13-point lead, but it was cut to five.
Lakers 50, Grizzlies 45 (end of first half)
In the second quarter, the Lakers picked up their defense, holding the Grizzlies to 16 points. By the half, the Lakers had slowed the Grizzlies to 39.5% shooting.
Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant took care of the offense, and each had 10 points by halftime.
Sam Young had 14 first-half points for Memphis.
Grizzlies 29, Lakers 26 (end of first quarter)
Again, the Lakers started slow on defense, allowing Memphis to make 54.5% of its shots in the opening quarter.
Even when the Lakers had a chance to close a nine-point gap with Pau Gasol at the free-throw line for three attempts after brother Marc Gasol fouled him shooting a three-pointer, Pau made only one.
But with Ron Artest scoring seven first-quarter points and handing out two assists, the Lakers stayed close after getting down early.
Mike Conley led the Grizzlies with seven points and two assists in the first quarter.
Even though the Lakers have lost their last two games against the Grizzlies -- the last time by 19 points at Staples Center on Jan. 2 -- Coach Phil Jackson said before Monday night's game that his concern was not about what Memphis does.
"I'm not concerned about them as I am concerned about us," Jackson said. "The big deal with us is that you have to take care of the ball. It's a team that beat us on turnovers and fastbreaks and that's one of the things that we know we have to prevent."
When told it was reported Monday that Utah Coach Jerry Sloan had signed a one-year contract extension that will keep him with the Jazz through the 2011-12 season, Jackson smiled.
Jackson was asked if that gave him any thoughts about coming back next season to the Lakers.
"No," he quickly said. "I want to congratulate Jerry and hope he has a great year."
-- Broderick Turner, reporting from Memphis, Tenn.
Photo: Lakers power forward Pau Gasol looks to score against Grizzlies power forward Zach Randolph in the first half Monday night in Memphis. Credit: Alan Spearman / Associated Press