LOS ANGELES — Center Marc Gasol said the Memphis Grizzlies did what they do best: grind out a victory.
Gasol and point guard Mike Conley each scored 19 points, leading the Grizzlies to a 99-93 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday at Staples Center.
Gasol also grabbed 11 rebounds as the Grizzlies (13-2), who share the best record in the NBA with the Toronto Raptors, captured their third in a row. Forward Zach Randolph added 16 points and nine boards.
“We got more stops,” said Gasol, who scored 16 points in the second half. “We got a little more physical with each possession and with rebounds. We put more pressure on the ball one-on-one … what we should have done the first half. We got into the paint a lot more instead of settling as much.”
The Lakers (3-12) dropped their third consecutive game and fell to 1-7 at Staples.
Gasol and Randolph said the Grizzlies’ ability to limit the Lakers’ offense and convert when they most needed to in the game’s final minutes was a major key.
“Everybody is playing together,” said Randolph, who connected on seven of 10 shots from the floor. “We’ve got a good team; we’ve got a good bench. Players are hitting shots. We just have to stick to what we’re doing.”
Guard Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 22 points on 5-of-15 shooting. Point guard Jeremy Lin contributed 14 points and five assists, and guard Nick Young came off the bench to score 13 points. Center Jordan Hill and reserve guard Ronnie Price added 11 points each. Hill also had seven rebounds.
Los Angeles made 40.7 percent of its shots from the floor, while Memphis hit 45 percent.
“We didn’t make shots,” said Bryant, who scored 14 points in the second half. “We did a pretty good job of moving the ball, and turnovers kind of got them going a little bit. They stepped up their aggressiveness a little bit; they stepped up their intensity and physicality.”
Two free throws by Bryant pulled Los Angeles within 89-87 with 6:38 remaining in the game. However, two foul shots by forward Quincy Pondexter and a bucket by forward Jon Leuer gave the Grizzlies a 93-87 cushion with 3:37 left.
The Lakers managed just one bucket in the last seven minutes. They shot only 30 percent (six of 20) in the final period, including 1-of-8 shooting on 3-point attempts. The Grizzlies weren’t much better, hitting six of 17 (35.3 percent) field goals and also managing just one of eight on treys, but it was enough for them to prevail.
“It’s never perfect, but that’s what we do,” Gasol said.
Three free throws by Young cut the deficit to 95-92 with 2:15 left, but that was the closest the Lakers would get despite several opportunities.
“Whether it’s the beginning, middle or end of the season, there are going to be rough times,” said Lin, who scored 13 points in the first half. “As long as we learn (from them), which I think we are, I think we will be able to use the losses and turn them into something better.”
The Grizzlies trailed by as many as nine points in the first half before cutting the Lakers’ lead to 51-46 at the break.
The teams exchanged leads in the third before a 3-pointer by Pondexter with 2:02 left gave Memphis a 72-69 advantage. The Grizzlies never trailed again.
After outscoring the Lakers 34-23 in the third, Memphis held an 80-74 lead. Gasol scored 12 of his points in the third period.
The Grizzlies finished just five of 22 on 3-pointers compared to eight of 19 for the Lakers.
Memphis won each of its past four meetings with Los Angeles, including a 107-102 decision on Nov. 11 at FedExForum.
NOTES: The injury-riddled Lakers are close to signing F Earl Clark to a deal, according to published reports. Clark, who played in 36 games for the Lakers during the 2012-13 season, averaged almost 29 points per game in four contests for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the NBA Development League. In addition to the Lakers, the 6-foot-10, 225-pound Clark, a first-round pick by Phoenix in the 2009 draft, has played for the Suns, Orlando Magic, Cleveland Cavaliers and New York Knicks during his five years in the league. … Lakers F Carlos Boozer returned after missing one game with a strained left shoulder, but was largely ineffective, finishing with four points and six rebounds in 21 minutes. … Memphis resumes its four-game road swing Friday at the Sacramento Kings. … The Lakers wrap up their four-game homestand with games Friday against the Minnesota Timberwolves and Sunday against the Toronto Raptors.
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