NBA Game Summary - LA Lakers at Memphis
(Tuesday, February 23rd)
Final Score: LA Lakers 99, Memphis 98
Memphis, TN (Sports Network) - Kobe Bryant returned from a five-game absence and willed the Lakers to their latest win, as the superstar hit a three- pointer with 4.3 seconds remaining to boost Los Angeles over Memphis, 99-98, at FedExForum.
Bryant scored 32, including the team's final nine points, to finish the contest and give the Lakers their fifth win in six games. He missed the previous five with a sore ankle and played in his first game since February 5 against Denver.
In his last visit to Memphis, on Feb. 1, Bryant scored 44 points and passed Jerry West for first place on the Lakers' all-time scoring list. But he passed up the potential winning shot to Ron Artest, who missed the attempt in a 95-93 Memphis victory.
Tuesday proved a much different result for the Lakers, who also received 22 points and 13 rebounds from Pau Gasol. Andrew Bynum contributed 15 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out late in the fourth quarter.
O.J. Mayo ended with 25 points for the Grizzlies, who lost for the seventh time in nine games. Zach Randolph had 20 points and 14 rebounds in defeat as the Grizzlies wasted a four-point lead with 2:07 remaining.
Rudy Gay went 1-of-2 at the foul line with 2:07 left, extending Memphis to a 96-92 lead, but the turning point came when Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins was whistled for a technical foul, arguing an offensive foul call on Marc Gasol.
Bryant made the technical shot with 1:40 remaining, and then after Mike Conley missed a jumper, Bryant tied the game with a three-ball from the top of the arc with 54 seconds to go.
"The technical was not the play that won or lost the game," Hollins said. "I was upset at Marc for setting an illegal screen. I hit the table, and he called a technical. Kobe hitting a couple of big shots was the game coming down the stretch. That was the game."
Gay got into the lane for a bucket, but the ball was actually tipped in by the Lakers' Pau Gasol with 37.9 showing on the clock.
Pau Gasol was off the mark on a bank shot in the lane, but the Lakers got a reprieve when Mayo missed two at the charity stripe with 18.8 seconds left.
Bryant's layup try was swatted away by Marc Gasol, but LA got the ball back to inbound, and this time the perennial All-Star squared up and drilled the winning shot from near the top of the arc.
"It's fun," Bryant said. "That's my responsibility to make plays down the stretch. If it's not taking the shot, then it's making the play for someone else. I enjoy it."
Mayo's fade-away jumper hit off the iron as time expired.
The Lakers carried a 27-16 lead after 12 minutes and they were ahead 53-48 at halftime.
Randolph finally tied the game at 56 with a jumper just over two minutes into the third. Gay's layup capped a string of 11 straight Memphis points for a 63-56 lead for the home team. The Grizzlies carried an 81-76 edge into the fourth and were up by as many as nine in the final period.
Randolph set a franchise single-season record for offensive rebounds, passing the mark of 238 set by Pau Gasol in the 2001-02 campaign...The Lakers have won eight of the last 10 meetings...Gay had 17 points, while Marc Gasol ended with eight points and 11 rebounds...Since their victory over the Lakers on Feb. 1, Memphis has lost five in a row at home.
02/24 02:04:33 ET