Kobe Bryant is fouled while driving to the basket by Tony Allen . (Lance Murphey / Associated…)
Grizzlies 106 - Lakers 98 (final)
The Memphis Grizzlies emerged Friday as the best team in the NBA with a 9-2 record, defeating the Lakers 106-98. The New York Knicks lost their second straight game to fall to 8-3.
The Grizzlies had all five starters in double figures, led by Rudy Gay's 19 and Mike Conley's 19. They shot 50.7% from the field and out-rebounded the Lakers 39-28.
For the second game in a row, the Lakers did not get much out of Dwight Howard (seven points, four boards) and Pau Gasol (six and four). Kobe Bryant led all scorers with 30 but finished with a +/- of -22.
The Lakers' bench, along with Metta World Peace and Howard, helped keep the game close. Antawn Jamison had a breakout performance with 16 points. He got the bulk of the minutes over Jordan Hill, who played just four.
Ultimately the Lakers just couldn't get stops, falling to 6-7 on the season. They play again on Saturday night in Dallas.
Grizzlies 82 - Lakers 70 (end of third quarter)
Antawn Jamison hit a buzzer-beating jumper to bring the Lakers within 12 after a difficult third quarter.
The Grizzlies extended their lead back to double-digits, taking advantage of Lakers turnovers (16) while shooting 49.2% from the field. All five Memphis starters are in double figures, led by Rudy Gay's 17.
The Lakers shot 45.2% through three, led by 16 apiece from Kobe Bryant and Metta World Peace.
For the second-straight game, the Lakers tandem of Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol has been relatively unproductive. Howard has seven points and four boards while Gasol just six and four.
Grizzlies 56 - Lakers 49 (halftime)
Antawn Jamison scored his season-high with the Lakers (nine) to help L.A. come back from a double-digit deficit.
The Lakers stormed back to within three points after an inadequate first period. The Grizzlies brought their starters back into the lineup, and extended the lead back to 12.
Bryant finished the scoring of the half with a driving dunk which brought the Lakers back to within seven.
The Lakers shot 43.6% from the field while turning the ball over 11 times in the first half, while the Grizzlies were better at 48.8% with eight turnovers.
Rudy Gay led all scorers with 15. Bryant had 14 for the Lakers followed by Darius Morris and Jamison with nine apiece.
Grizzlies 34 - Lakers 18 (end of first quarter)
The Memphis Grizzlies jumped on the Lakers in the first quarter, building a 16-point lead following an 11-0 run.
The Lakers shot just 42.1% from the field while turning the ball over six times. The Grizzlies hit 53.2% from the field, including a trio of three-pointers. Memphis also took three more free throws than the Lakers (5-2), both teams hitting all attempts.
The Lakers got a quick six from Darius Morris early in the quarter before the wheels fell off. The remaining four starters had two apiece, and Antawn Jamison scored four on back-to-back baskets late in the period. Pau Gasol struggled from the field, hitting one of six shots.
Zach Randolph led all scorers with nine points.
The Lakers visit the Western Conference-leading Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night. The Grizzlies are currently tied with the New York Knicks at 8-2, best in each conference.
Memphis is one of the few power teams in the league with the size to match up with Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol. Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, along with Rudy Gay, lead the Grizzlies in scoring and rebounding.
Mike Conley is one of the most underrated point guards in the league and Tony Allen is one of the better perimeter defenders in the NBA.
Once again the Lakers will be without the Steve Nash (leg) and Steve Blake (abdominal strain), which makes leaving Memphis with a victory a difficult challenge.
For a more in-depth breakdown, check out Preview: Lakers vs. Grizzlies.
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You can email Eric Pincus at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.