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Grizzlies unsatisfied with win over Lakers

4 min read
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Numbers tell a story, but not always the story they appear to tell. The Memphis Grizzlies handed out 28 assists on 45 baskets Wednesday night on the way to defeating the Los Angeles Lakers 108-103 at FedExForum.

The Grizzlies (32-24) tied their season high with their fourth straight home win and shot 48.9 percent.

All good, right?

“It could have been a lot better,” said Memphis center Marc Gasol, who finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds and was one of three Grizzlies with five assists. “You have so many options open, it’s tough to take the first one.”

Translation: The Lakers’ defense had so many holes in it there were good shots to be had, better shots to be had and great shots to be had.

“We’re playing a team that’s playing really free basketball,” Gasol said. “If they have a shot, they take it; they aren’t afraid of doing any of that. Defensively, they want you to shoot quicker so they can get the ball back and shoot it again.”

Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger’s evaluation: “We over-passed. We turned the ball over trying to be too cute, instead of just making the play that needed to be made. I thought we had a chance to score 125 or 130 the way we were going.”

Memphis scored a season-high 65 first-half points and led 65-46 at halftime. But they scored just 43 points in the second half and no Memphis player cracked the 20-point barrier as shooting guard Courtney Lee led with 18 points and guard Tony Allen had 17 points off the bench. Forward James Johnson scored 14, and power forward Zach Randolph chipped in 13 points and seven rebounds.

The Lakers (19-39) lost their third straight and have lost seven of their last eight. Guard Jodie Meeks paced Los Angeles with 19 points. Forward Wesley Johnson scored 18 points and center Pau Gasol finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Los Angeles outshot the Grizzlies, hitting 49.4 percent, and went a blistering 15-for-28 (53.6 percent) from the 3-point line; they were 7-for-11 (63.6 percent) from behind the arc in the fourth quarter.

“Guys got good looks,” the Lakers’ Pau Gasol said. “We got in a rhythm and had greater balance.”

“I thought there was better energy and better karma,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said.

The Lakers trailed by 22 at the 6:02 mark in the third quarter and 82-73 going into the fourth quarter. They cut the lead down to six when forward Ryan Kelly knocked down a 3-pointer 12 seconds into the fourth quarter to make the score 82-76.

From there, the Grizzlies regained control — so it appeared — and stretched the lead to as many as 15 points.

But the Lakers pulled within three, at 106-103, when guard Jordan Farmar (16 points) hit a 3-pointer with 14.9 seconds left. Down 102-89 with just 2:21 left, the Lakers went on a 14-4 run, hitting four 3-pointers.

“We gave ourselves a chance,” Pau Gasol said. “That is what we have to ask ourselves every single game. We were a little more active defensively (in the second half).”

Although the Grizzlies are 7-4 in February, they have not had a single double-digit victory. They looked to have an easy one Wednesday night, and then suddenly the Lakers were making a furious late run and shooting 55 percent in the second half.

“We didn’t mean to do that, obviously,” Memphis point guard Mike Conley said of losing the large lead. “We’d rather walk out of here with a 20-point win.”

Still, as the Grizzlies sit in the ninth spot in the Western Conference standings, they are not worried about style points.

“Good game, not great,” Joerger said. “But we played well enough to win.”

NOTES: The Lakers entered Wednesday’s game on a historic slide, having lost 25 of their previous 31 games. Before Wednesday, the Lakers were 1-4 in their past five games, giving up at least 101 points in each game, including 134 in a loss to the Houston Rockets. On Tuesday in Indiana, they allowed 118 to the Pacers. “We need to guard somebody,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said. “We need to be tougher.” … Several media reports had the Grizzlies claiming PG Beno Udrih off waivers. The New York Knicks released Udrih on Monday. Memphis wanted a third point guard to play behind starter Mike Conley and rookie Nick Calathes, who has had his ups and downs. In his 10th NBA season, Udrih has career averages of 8.9 points and 3.6 assists. … When the Lakers and Grizzlies last met, on Dec. 17 in Memphis, SG Kobe Bryant fractured his knee.

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Alan is an experienced writer of online betting and casino guides. He is one of the main editors of Basketballinsiders.

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