LOS ANGELES--The Killer B's led the Lakers to a 90-82 win over the Memphis Grizzlies, their sixth straight victory at Staples Center. But it was the Terrible T'sas in turnoverswhich nearly killed the home team.
Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum, Matt Barnes and Steve Blake combined for 69 points on 26-53 shooting. Bryant led in scoring with 26 points and added nine assists. Bynum had 15 and 15 rebounds while Barnes contributed 15 and 10. Blake scored 13 points, hitting half of his 3-point attempts. However, when they weren't making baskets or playing defense, they were giving the short-handed Grizzlies (3-5) every opportunity to steal a win. (Star power forward Zach Randolph is out for about 8 weeks after a serious knee injury).
The "B's" also combined for 18 of the Lakers' season-high 27 turnovers that led to 24 Memphis points. It was a game that should have seen the injured Bryant and Gasol get some rest, yet actually saw them on the floor as the game ended. It has been nearly two DECADES since the Lakers had that many turnovers,1993 being the last time they were that sloppy with the ball, giving it away 28 times in a game. The Lakers (6-4) are averaging just over 16 turnovers per gamethree more than last season and their championship season of 2009-2010.
"Way too many turnovers tonight," Gasol said, "and it kept the game close because they had so many (extra) opportunities.
"It's been a problem for us all season and we (work on it) in every practice, every game. I think our turnovers are way too high. We've got to take care of the ball; start making the right plays and making the right pass."
That's even more important for a team which uses defense as a catalyst for its offense. If they make a stop on defense, take the ball and give it right back to the opponent with a lousy pass, they can get worn out quickly when they throw it away as much as the Lakers have this season.
"That's (true)," Gasol said, "because defense is always our motor. It has to be. If we just make good plays and get stops, everything will work out for us (offensively). We just have to emphasize taking care of the ball."
It has to be especially frustrating for them to know that when they look at the game film before Monday's practice, they'll see--again--that most of the miscues weren't because of intense pressure from the Grizzlies defense. The Lakers were simply lackadaisical and sloppy and committed unforced turnovers. Just in case the players didn't notice it, their coach had no problem pointing it out to them.
"It's no secret that 27 turnovers are too many," coach Mike Brown said in his post game news conference. "The thing that was most disappointing about the turnover was the fact that they led to so many easy fast break baskets. 31 of (their) points were fast break points, in a game that was not up-tempo. That's tough to overcome, but in a certain sense you feel lucky to win the game."
Brown did note some of the positive aspects of the Laker victory, especially a defense which held Memphis to just 82 points on 40.9 shooting.
"We won this game because of the way we executed our half-court defense. We played good, solid defense in the half-court and we played hard up front. (Bynum, Gasol and Barnes) had 40 rebounds and played good all-around games. And Kobe was great with the nine assists and 26 points.
"It's great to see him play so well and also be able to help out the team in every area he needed to. He played a game that was fun to watch."
Even if his team didn't.
"We did everything we had to do to win the game," said Blake, who brings a great deal of energy off the bench, "no matter how it looked.
"It's a win and we'll take it."
NOTESRudy Gay led the Grizzlies with 19 points, while Marc GasolPau's brothergrabbed 11 boards but was 0-9 from the field. He finished with two points. Brown said the team needs more time to develop consistency. "We know we're not playing great basketball. We're playing great basketball (only) in spurts. We're 6-2 in our last eight, and that's not bad for (getting) all this new stuff thrown at them." The Lakers host Phoenix Tuesday night before heading to Utah on Wednesday to face the Jazz. LA is 0-3 on the road so far this season.