Kobe Bryant had 24 points and nine assists, Pau Gasol added 19 points, and the Los Angeles Lakers stayed in the final playoff position in the Western Conference with an 86-84 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night.
Dwight Howard hit a free throw with 4.1 seconds left for the Lakers, who have won three straight in the final weeks of their desperate push for a postseason spot. Los Angeles also avoided getting swept in its season series with the Grizzlies, whose four-game winning streak ended.
Mike Conley scored 21 points before missing a potential go-ahead jumper with 5 seconds left and another layup before the buzzer for playoff-bound Memphis, which fell one game behind Denver for the fourth seed in the West. The Grizzlies couldn't score in the final 2 1/2 minutes.
Howard had nine points and 10 rebounds, while Earl Clark and Antawn Jamison contributed 13 points apiece off the bench as the Lakers won without injured starters Steve Nash and Metta World Peace.