Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/23/12
MEMPHIS, Tn. -- The Memphis Grizzlies always realize when a game against the Los Angeles Lakers is on the line in the final few minutes, the ball belongs to Lakers' guard Kobe Bryant. Stop Bryant and you get the win. After leading by six points with 2:24 left, the Grizzlies held serve. Despite Bryant scoring 14 of his game-high 30 points in the final quarter, Memphis held on for a 106-98 victory Friday before a soldout FedExForum crowd of 18,119. It was the second consecutive loss for the Lakers (6-7) after winning three in a row. The Grizzlies improved to 9-2. The Grizzlies led 82-70 after three quarters, but things changed when Bryant re-entered the game for the final seven minutes. Despite air-balling a couple of shots, he nailed two deep 3-pointers to get the Lakers started in the right direction. But with Tony Allen and Quincy Pondexter taking turns tailing Bryant, he missed his last two shots, including clanking a three-pointer with 19 seconds left to seal the Lakers' fate. All five starters scored in double figures for the Grizzlies (9-2), who were led by Rudy Gay's 21 points and 8 rebounds. Mike Conley finished with 19 points, including a couple of key jumpers late. Zach Randolph added 17 points and 12 rebounds, Marc Gasol contributed 14 points and 8 assists and Allen had 12. Besides Bryant, Metta World-Peace and Antawn Jamison were the only offensive forces for the Lakers (6-7), scoring 16 points each. Two runs by the Grizzlies of 9-0 and 14-2 opened up a 16-point Memphis lead, 34-18, to end the first quarter. Memphis thrived on defensive deflections, turning six Lakers turnovers into eight points. The normally reliable Memphis bench gave the Griz nothing in the first seven minutes of the second quarter, and the Lakers, with just two starters on the floor, opened the period on a 16-2 run. Memphis pushed the lead back to double-digits before Lakers guard Bryant came alive late to cut the Griz lead to seven points at the break. The Grizzlies used three defenders on Bryant in the first half, all tuned into the team defensive scheme of getting the ball out of Bryant's hands. The fact Pau Gasol was 1-for-6 in the first quarter was proof the Grizzlies' game plan was working. But Bryant got untracked in the second quarter, scoring 10 of the Lakers' 31 points. He punctuated the period by blowing past Gay in the final seconds for a two-handed dunk. It was one of Gay's rare bad moments in the opening half, when he scored a game-high 15 points, including 3-of-4 3-pointers. NOTES: Other than more pick and rolls, Griz coach Lionel Hollins wasn't antipating much different from the Lakers under new coach Mike D'Antoni. "It's going to be Kobe Bryant, Kobe Bryant, Kobe Bryant.," Hollins said. "I don't care who they have coaching. Kobe Bryant is going to be the featured player and everybody will play off him. Simple as that. As long as Kobe is there, he's the man. It's the Kobe Bryant Show. We'll pretty much have two people on him all night (Allen to start, then Pondexter). If we have to go a third person, it means we're in trouble."
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