What started out as a night where we might finally see a Los Angeles Lakers team that was on the same page and worked in unison on both ends of the floor quickly turned in to the same display of poor offensive and defensive execution that has been displayed all season. The Lakers lose to the Memphis Grizzlies 106-93 which marks their 4th straight loss and 7th straight on the road. To make matters worse, Dwight Howard re-aggravates his shoulder injury and had to leave the game for good in the 2nd quarter.
Prior to the Lakers game against Memphis there was a report of a players meeting where the team got to air out a lot of their frustrations and quarrels. Going by the Lakers comments regarding the players meeting prior to the game it seemed as if there was going to be a renewed commitment to the defensive end of the floor and giving maximum effort. Dwight Howard had stated that he was going to focus on the defensive end of the court and not worry about how many shots he was getting in the offense which was something he complained about to select reporters after the Chicago loss where he only took 5 shots.
It appeared that the Lakers were serious going by the first few minutes of the 1st quarter against Memphis, getting up Dwight Howard was active, blocking shots and moving with purpose around the paint. Kobe, who earlier had stated that he is going to focus on working from the free throw line down in the offense, does just that by aggressively working in the post. Kobe scored 12 points on 5 for 6 shooting in the 1st quarter. Memphis answered quickly and were able to take a 1 point lead to end the 1st quarter. The excitement and hope faded quicker than the flavor in fruit stripe gum, as demonstrated here by Peter Griffin of Family Guy.
The Lakers couldn’t sustain their early success against the Grizzlies and once the 2nd units of both sides started to sub in for the starters in the 2nd quarter the game got away from the Lakers. Memphis pushed their lead to as much as 15 points in the 2nd quarter and never gave up the lead for the rest of the game.
Mike Conley once again had his way against the Lakers. Conley scored 19 points and led the team with 6 assist. Darrell Arthur led Memphis in scoring, coming off the bench to score 20 points. The talented front court of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol combined for 24 points and 21 rebounds.
Kobe Bryant once again led the Lakers in scoring with 29 points on 11 for 23 shooting. Kobe is averaging 6 three point attempts per game but only took 1 in the game as he was working primarily in the post.
The Lakers return home to face the Utah Jazz on Friday, then face another tough match up against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday at Staples Center.
– Fern Rea “@fullcourtfern”