Lakers 90, Grizzlies 82 (final)
Maybe small forward won't be a black hole of production for the Lakers after all.
Matt Barnes had his second consecutive strong game, collecting 15 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and two key fourth-quarter blocks to help the Lakers pull away from the Memphis Grizzlies.
After the Grizzlies had closed the deficit to 78-74 on a pull-up jumper by O.J. Mayo, Barnes blocked a shot by the former USC standout and then made a layup to extend the Lakers' lead. Barnes later blocked a shot by Marreese Speights that led to a breakaway by Kobe Bryant. Bryant was fouled on the play but missed both free throws.
Bryant scored 26 points on 11-for-22 shooting but made only one of five three-pointers and three of six free throws. The Lakers had five players score in double figures, with Andrew Bynum (15), Pau Gasol (13) and Steve Blake (13) joining Bryant and Barnes.
Rudy Gay scored 19 points and Speights added 17 for the Grizzlies, who couldn't fully capitalize on the Lakers' 27 turnovers.
The Lakers concluded a stretch of 10 games in 15 days to open the season with a 6-4 record, not too bad considering that only Oklahoma City has played as many games and the Clippers have played only six games.
Lakers 78, Grizzlies 68 (end of third quarter)
Derek Fisher and Kobe Bryant provided a couple of reminders that the Clippers aren't the only team that resides in Lob City.
Bryant also provided a highlight play that didn't need setting up, driving along the baseline for a dunk that drew roars from the Staples Center crowd.
The Grizzlies are still hanging around, though Lakers guard Steve Blake buried a three-pointer before the buzzer that extended the Lakers' lead back to double digits.
Bryant has 22 points and Bynum and Blake have 13 apiece for the Lakers, who are shooting 53.6%.
Rudy Gay has 19 points for the Grizzlies.
Lakers 56, Grizzlies 46 (halftime)
Two days after slogging through the first half of a victory over Golden State, the Lakers appeared rejuvenated in the early going against Memphis.
Maybe not having to play on back-to-back days had something to do with it.
Kobe Bryant had 15 points and Pau Gasol was winning the battle against his younger brother, collecting eight points, nine rebounds and four assists to Marc's two points, five rebounds and five assists. Pau Gasol was part of the first half's most memorable play, throwing a behind-the-back pass that Andrew Bynum took for a layup late in the second quarter.
Matt Barnes had nine points for the Lakers, appearing to be on the way to a second consecutive strong game after scoring 16 points against the Warriors on Friday. The Lakers led by as many as 14 points before Memphis closed the half on a mini-run that kept it within striking distance.
Marreese Speights had 12 points off the bench and starters Mike Conley and Rudy Gay added 11 points apiece for the Grizzlies, who are seeking to get back to .500 one season after upsetting top-seeded San Antonio in the playoffs and reaching the Western Conference semifinals.
Lakers 31, Grizzlies 22 (end of first quarter)
Seeking to further distance themselves from being a .500 team, the Lakers were off to a good start against the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday evening at Staples Center.
Kobe Bryant hit four of his first six shots for 11 points, Matt Barnes made an open three-pointer from the corner on the way to six first-quarter points and Troy Murphy added six points off the bench for the Lakers.
Pau Gasol made a nice turnaround baseline jumper a few seconds before the quarter ended to give the Lakers their nine-point cushion. The Lakers were shooting 57.1% to Memphis' 39.1%, and in a departure from their season-long three-point shooting woes, had made two of three shots from beyond the arc.
Rudy Gay had seven points and Mike Conley added five for the Grizzlies.
Photo: Grizzlies center Marc Gasol and Lakers power forward Pau Gasol battle for a rebound in the first half Sunday at Staples Center. Credit: Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press