72-55 in favor of the Grizzlies in the third quarter. Oh these wretched road games! Arriving in Memphis, TN yesterday with a 7-14 record away from the Staples Center, the Lakers remain at a loss as to why they’re so dominant at home (18-2) but play so poorly on the road. And if they could lose two games in a row to the lowly Detroit Pistons and Washington Wizards, who knew what evils lay ahead in tonight’s game, even if the Grizzlies were playing without two of their best players in Zach Randolph and Rudy Gay.
The evils, apparently, were reincarnated in one Tony Allen and another Marreese Speights, not to mention “el tanque” himself, Marc Gasol. The Grizzlies didn’t need Randolph and Gay to defeat the Lakers. They seemed to be doing just fine with the back-ups that they had. In the first quarter, Tony Allen, who averages just about 10 ppg, had already rattled off 11 points on 5-9 from the field. By halftime, Marc Gasol had 12 points on 6-10, more than twice what his big brother, Pau who had barely produced up to that time (five points, two rebounds, two assists.). And then there was Speights, who seemingly came out of nowhere, and scored 15 points on 7-8 in the third quarter.
Despite putting in a 30-point second quarter to get within two points of a once nine-point lead going into halftime, the Lakers came into the third quarter and immediately gave up a 20-4 run to the Grizzlies to instantly fall behind by 17 points. The momentum that helped them catch up in the second quarter hadn’t yet shown up seven minutes into the second half and the Lakers seemed headed towards another road loss. Fortunately, they still had time in the game, not to mention some fight in themselves, and they countered that early quarter Memphis run with one of their own, a 16-8 surge that pulled them within striking distance going into the fourth.
After shooting almost 50% in the first three quarters and forcing 13 Laker turnovers, the Grizzlies went cold (38% cold) and relatively less aggressive, as the Lakers got hot in the fourth (61%), led by Kobe Bryant’s 11 points. The Lakers seemingly crawled their way up a hill in the fourth quarter; their final three shots getting them over the lead and then, after a game-tying jumper from Marc Gasol, forced the first overtime.
That’s right – a FIRST overtime in which each team scored six points apiece on a combined 5-16 from the field. And when Bryant’s final attempt didn’t go, they were forced to play a SECOND overtime, and though Memphis played twice as many possessions to take this game on their home floor, they were half as effective and efficient, and they fell 13-8 in the final five minutes.