Lester, Grizzlies spoil Kobe’s mood
Posted: Tuesday, February 2, 2010 6:33 pm
MEMPHIS (AP) — Kobe Bryant got the Los Angeles Lakers’ franchise scoring record, but UT Martin product Lester Hudson and the Memphis Grizzlies spoiled the celebration.
Hudson, who was placed on waivers by the Boston Celtics earlier this season and claimed by his hometown team, accounted for a career-high 13 points during the Grizzlies’ 95-93 victory.
The boost from Hudson was unexpected, but certainly welcomed. The rookie had played in only four of the 12 games since joining the team, managing a total of nine points.
Hudson had 11 points in the second quarter alone as Memphis extended the lead to 11 before carrying a 52-50 lead into the half as the Lakers outscored Memphis 11-2 to close the half.
For Los Angeles, Bryant scored 44 points, passing Jerry West as the Lakers’ career scorer.
While the focus was on Bryant and the Lakers’ record, Memphis held on for the victory. Rudy Gay led the Grizzlies with 25 points, and his 3-pointer with 29.5 seconds left helped Memphis end its two-game losing streak.
The Grizzlies also had Zach Randolph with 22 points and 17 rebounds.
“I was open and Marc (Gasol) gave me a good pass, and I made the shot,” said Gay, who was 10-of-19 from the field. “You know I’ve never been reluctant to shoot at the end of the game.”
The basket was just enough for Memphis to escape with the win after holding 11-point leads in both halves. Ron Artest’s 3-point attempt from the right side bounced high off the rim as the horn sounded, snapping the Lakers’ four-game winning streak.
“I thought it was good,” Artest said of the last shot, adding: “Obviously, if there was more time, you would head-fake and do something else. I thought it was about to drop in too. I thought it had a chance.”
Bryant actually had the ball for the last possession, and as he has done many times before, seemed set to carry the Lakers to victory. But Bryant had to give up the ball as the clock wound down and Memphis defenders surrounded him.
“They had like three guys (on me),” Bryant said. “Ron was wide open in the corner. I’ll take that look any time. It just went a little long.”
Bryant passed West’s mark on a breakaway dunk in the third quarter. Bryant made 16-of-28 shots, including 4-of-7 outside the arc. Artest added 18 points, while Pau Gasol had 10 points.
Marc Gasol finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds for Memphis.
While Bryant got the franchise record for scoring, the loss prevented Lakers coach Phil Jackson from passing Pat Riley as the winningest coach in regular-season games for Los Angeles. The two are tied at 533.
The game was tied at 88, when Memphis ran the shot clock to near the end before Randolph made a 22-footer for a 90-88 lead with 1:08 left. His two free throws extended the lead to 92-88. Bryant scored on a drive before Gay’s 3-pointer gave Memphis a 95-90 lead, and the Grizzlies held on.
“It feels like a playoff game every night to us because they’re so important,” Memphis guard Mike Conley said. “Everybody’s so close in the West, so we have to treat every game the same and come out with the same mentality.”
Bryant had 23 points at the half, moving him close to West’s mark.
“At halftime, I told the guys that he (Bryant) was forcing the action, and let’s get him over the hump and start playing team basketball,” Jackson said. “It didn’t seem like we ever did.”
In the end, Memphis, which had defeated division leaders including Cleveland, Orlando, Denver and Dallas, added the Lakers to the list as the Grizzlies have gone 25-13 after a 1-8 start.
“These young guys stepped up and played great,” Randolph said. “Rudy hit big shots. O.J. (Mayo) played good. Marc played good. It was just a good all-around game for the whole team.”
NOTES: Memphis reserve Sam Young, the Grizzlies’ leading scorer off the bench with a 7.5-point average, was inactive because of an allergic reaction. The Lakers wrapped up an eight-game road trip Monday night with a record of 5-3. … After the pre-game introductions, Pau Gasol, who started his career in Memphis, bumped fists all the way down press row to the Grizzlies bench. … The teams were tied at 24 at the end of the first because of a mental lapse by Gay, who thought the game clock was running out and fired up a 47-fo