Chalk another loss up for the Grizzlies (13-33). The Grizzlies dropped to the L.A. Lakers (32-12) 100-85 Friday night in front of a sold-out Pyramid crowd.
The Grizzlies controlled most of the game, with a lead as big as nine in the third quarter. The Memphis squad used the talents of point guard Brevin Knight, starting for the injured Jason Williams, who is still suffering soreness from ingrown toe-nails on either foot. Knight paced the team with 13 points to lead all Grizzlies, and also a game-high ten assists. Like Knight, forward Pau Gasol scored 13 points, and tossed out six assists of his own. Forward Grant Long and guard Rodney Buford scored ten points apiece to round out the Grizzlies scoring effort.
That was enough through three quarters, but then Knight needed to sit due to fatigue. Without Knight, the squads offense and defense stalled. Our offense bogged down, Grizzlies coach Sidney Lowe said after the game. We couldnt get it done on the inside, we couldnt get it done on the outside.
Battier agreed. We gave them a big momentum boost in the fourth, Battier said. We didnt make plays down the stretch. We were stuck at 75 for a long time.
In terms of the defensive breakdown, Battier said communication was at a premium. We didnt talk enough on the floor, and that hurt us, Battier said. You just have to do the best you can.
Part of the defensive breakdown happened late in the third, when Lakers guard Derek Fisher hit consecutive threes to cut the Grizzlies lead to one. The word was dont leave Fisher, Lowe said. Just dont leave him. Fisher was undefended with both shots, and finished the game with 21 points.
Along with Fisher, Lakers center scored 26 points and pulled down 10 rebounds for L.A. Guard Kobe Bryant-- who scored 56 points in the two teams previous meeting-- was limited to only 13 points. Forward Rick Fox, held scoreless though the first three quarters, scored 10 points in the fourth, as the Lakers outscored the Grizzlies 32-16 in the fourth.
The Grizzlies return to the Pyramid on Sunday, February 3, at 2 p.m. when they face the Charlotte Hornets.