Grizzlies send Lakers to fourth straight loss
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A team meeting didn’t help stop the losing, and this season just keeps spinning away from the Lakers.
Darrell Arthur scored a season-high 20 points and Mike Conley added 19 as the Memphis Grizzlies beat Los Angeles 106-93 Wednesday night, handing the Lakers their fourth straight loss and 10th in 12 games.
“I do think they play as hard as they can play, and that’s what’s scary,” coach Mike D’Antoni said of his Lakers, who are now 2-10 in January. “I mean I don’t know how we can play harder or blame something else. We just didn’t play well.”
Kobe Bryant said he felt comfortable with what he said in a team meeting before the morning shootaround. He said he doesn’t know if his message to Dwight Howard got across. When asked if he hoped it did, Bryant simply answered with a seemingly sarcastic “No.” And Bryant said this season certainly is getting up there when asked if it was his toughest in the NBA.
“That Rudy T (Tomjanovich) one was a pretty hard one, too,” Bryant said.
That was 2004-05, when the Lakers last missed the playoffs when Tomjanovich was coach part of a 34-48 season.
These Lakers are 17-25 after losing their seventh consecutive road game. D’Antoni had talked before the game about having an All-Star team with players not having learned their pecking order. Then Howard missed the second half after aggravating his sore shoulder just before halftime. D’Antoni said the center will be re-evaluated in Los Angeles.
Memphis got to celebrate a big win, a day after trading three reserves to Cleveland. That meant, even with the signing of D-League player Chris Johnson, Memphis only dressed 10 players before clinching the season series over the Lakers with one game left in Los Angeles on April 5.
“It was just a great team win,” Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said.
Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph and Tony Allen added 12 points apiece as Memphis improved to 12-0 when scoring at least 100 points. Randolph also grabbed 10 rebounds. The Grizzlies scored a season-high 60 points in the paint, compared to 34 for the Lakers with Howard out the second half.
Bryant scored 29 points for the Lakers, Metta World Peace added 15, Pau Gasol 13 and Earl Clark 11.
Los Angeles came in as the NBA’s fifth-best scoring team, averaging 102.6 points. But it was the Grizzlies topping 100 points for the first time since Jan. 11 against the Spurs, and they scored their most points since getting 113 against Sacramento on Jan. 7.
Pau Gasol, coming off the bench again, believes defense remains the Lakers’ biggest problem.
“We make these teams look a lot better offensively than they really are,” the Lakers forward said. “That’s something that’s pretty negative. Pretty alarming.”
The Grizzlies had a short bench after trading three players to the Cavaliers on Tuesday, only getting Jon Leuer back in a move freeing up Memphis from the luxury tax. But the paperwork hadn’t cleared on the physicals of the trio going to Cleveland in time to have Leuer available against the Lakers.
Then Marc Gasol, Randolph, Hamed Haddadi and Jerryd Bayless all picked up two fouls each in the first quarter. That forced Hollins to rotate his Grizzlies to keep them fresh, and rookie Tony Wroten, who has gotten most of his playing time in the D-League in Reno this season, had a career-best nine points by halftime.
“When we are faced with adversity, we show that we can win,” Allen said. “When adversity comes, when guys get hurt, we pull together.”
The Lakers started quickly, scoring the first six points of the game and forced four turnovers. They looked like they had listened to D’Antoni’s plea for better defense.
But they last led 30-28 on a 15-footer by Pau Gasol with 9 minutes left in the second quarter. Conley answered with a 9-foot runner to tie it up, and that started a 22-5 run as the Grizzlies took the lead for good. Conley capped the spurt with a fast-break layup with 4:25 left in the first half for a 50-35 lead.
Both teams shot better than 50 percent in the first half, but the Grizzlies led 59-50 at halftime. They led by as much as 21 in the second half and finished with a 27-3 edge on second-chance points. They outrebounded the Lakers 52-34, including 16 offensive rebounds.
“It’s just the same thing over again,” Lakers forward Earl Clark said. “We broke down defensively. They went on a run, and we continue to just go downhill.”
Meanwhile, Howard was 0 of 4 from the floor and headed to the locker room with 2:21 left in the first half, flexing his right shoulder. He had been probable with a torn labrum and had a very physical first half against Gasol and Haddadi.
The Lakers got within 61-58 on a 14-footer by Bryant with 8:57 left in the third. That was as close as they would get as their woes worsened when Steve Nash, who came in a perfect 26 of 26 at the free throw line this season, missed his second attempt of the night with 3:07 left in the third.
HEAT 123, RAPTORS 116, OT
MIAMI — Dwyane Wade scored 35 points, LeBron James got his 34th career triple-double and Miami rallied from a 15-point deficit to beat Toronto.
James finished with 31 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds for Miami, getting the last board on Toronto’s final shot of the night. Wade added seven assists, including the one that set up Ray Allen for the 3-pointer that clinched the win with 59.3 seconds left in overtime.
Allen scored 18, Mario Chalmers added 14 and Chris Bosh had 12 points and 12 rebounds for Miami. The Heat finished overtime on a 13-2 run, climbing out of a four-point hole.
Alan Anderson scored 20 points for Toronto, leading seven Raptors in double figures.
NETS 91, TIMBERWOLVES 83
MINNEAPOLIS — Brook Lopez strengthened his case for a spot on the All-Star team with 22 points on 10-for-16 shooting, helping Brooklyn hold off Minnesota.
The Nets improved to 12-2 under interim coach P.J. Carlesimo, and they’re 9-1 with their preferred starting lineup: Lopez, the NBA’s highest-scoring center, Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace and Reggie Evans. Williams and Johnson scored 18 points apiece, and the Nets never trailed despite some sloppy stretches of play.
C.J. Watson added 14 points for the Nets, who won for the first time in their last nine games at Minnesota. The Wolves have lost seven of eight overall.
Andrei Kirilenko had 15 points for the Wolves, who played without shooting guard Alexey Shved (left ankle) and center Nikola Pekovic (right quadriceps) for the third straight game.
SUNS 106, KINGS 96
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Luis Scola scored 21 points and Phoenix won its first game under new coach Lindsey Hunter, beating Sacramento.
The Suns, tied with New Orleans for the worst record in the Western Conference at 14-28, outplayed the Kings in the second half, quieting a Sacramento crowd that was watching the Kings for the first time since the announced sale of the team to a group of Seattle businessmen.
Michael Beasley had 13 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter, when the Suns outscored Sacramento 32-19. Marcin Gortat, Goran Dragic and Shannon Brown scored 12 apiece for Phoenix, which has won two straight road games but is 4-17 away from home.
Tyreke Evans scored 16 points and DeMarcus Cousins had 15 points and 15 rebounds for the Kings. Cousins, who committed six of Sacramento’s 25 turnovers, was called for his 10th technical foul in the fourth quarter for delay of game.
BULLS 85, PISTONS 82
CHICAGO — Nate Robinson had 11 points and seven assists in 21 minutes off the bench, leading a furious fourth-quarter comeback that carried Chicago past Detroit.
Joakim Noah sacrificed his body to save a loose ball, which Marco Belinelli converted into a game-winning basket with 7 seconds left. Tayshaun Prince and Rodney Stuckey each missed potential tying 3-pointers at the other end.
Robinson put the Bulls on his back, scoring nine straight points early in the fourth as Chicago overcame a 17-point deficit to beat the Pistons for the 17th straight time.
Detroit (16-26) fell to 4-15 on the road. The Pistons had won nine of 13 overall.
TRAIL BLAZERS 100, PACERS 80
PORTLAND, Ore.— LaMarcus Aldridge scored 27 points and Portland beat Indiana to snap a six-game losing streak.
Rookie gaurd Damian Lillard added 20 points and eight assists for the Trail Blazers, who also stopped a four-game skid at home and avoided dropping five straight at the Rose Garden for the first time since 2006.
J.J. Hickson had 14 points and 13 rebounds for his 24th double-double this season. Portland shot a season-high 56.4 percent from the floor.
Paul George had 22 points and seven rebounds for the Pacers, who had won seven straight against Western Conference teams, their longest streak since 2004.
HAWKS 104, BOBCATS 92
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Josh Smith had 30 points and 13 rebounds, and Atlanta snapped a six-game road losing streak with a win over Charlotte.
Kyle Korver added 21 points on 5-of-6 shooting from beyond the 3-point arc as the Hawks sent the Bobcats to their 16th straight home loss, three shy of the NBA record.
Smith finished two assists shy of a triple-double. Ivan Johnson added 12 points and 15 rebounds.
Ramon Sessions led the Bobcats with a season-high 27 points.
The win gave the Hawks a four-game sweep of the season series and extended their overall winning streak to seven against the Bobcats.
NUGGETS 105, ROCKETS 95
HOUSTON — Ty Lawson scored 21 points, Wilson Chandler had 20 and Denver pulled away in the third quarter against mistake-prone Houston.
Danilo Gallinari sank three 3-pointers and scored 18 points for the Nuggets, who converted 28 points off 23 Houston turnovers to beat the Rockets for the fifth straight time.
James Harden scored 23 points and Omer Asik grabbed 13 rebounds for the Rockets, who have lost eight of nine. Jeremy Lin watched the fourth quarter from the bench for the second straight game.
Denver took control with a 21-5 burst late in the third quarter, turning a flurry of Rockets turnovers into easy baskets.
SPURS 106, HORNETS 102
SAN ANTONIO — Tony Parker had 24 points and 13 assists as San Antonio rallied past New Orleans, overcoming the absence of Tim Duncan and coach Gregg Popovich for its 15th straight win at home.
Tiago Splitter added 25 points and seven rebounds, and Stephen Jackson scored 15 for the Spurs.
Eric Gordon had 17 points for the Hornets and Ryan Anderson added 16.
The Spurs trailed most of the game with Popovich (undisclosed illness), Duncan (sore left knee) and Kawhi Leonard (left patella bruise) all sitting out.
JAZZ 92, WIZARDS 88
SALT LAKE CITY — Paul Millsap had 16 points and 15 rebounds to help Utah hold off Washington.
The Jazz led by 22 points in the second quarter and 15 entering the fourth, but the road-weary Wizards fought back to within two on Kevin Seraphin’s jumper with 6:57 left.
Millsap’s putback put Utah up by seven, but the Wizards came back again as Utah went cold. Millsap’s 14-foot baseline jumper with 21 seconds left halted a nearly 3-minute scoreless stretch for the Jazz and bumped their lead to 90-84.
Martell Webster’s third 3-pointer cut Utah’s lead to 90-87 with 15 seconds left, but ex-Wizards guard Randy Foye made both free throws with 11 seconds remaining to seal it.
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