Kobe Bryant vs. Grizzlies - 01.02.11

Kobe Bryant drives to basket against Grizzlies.

In another lackluster effort Sunday night, the Lakers lost for the third time in four games at home, and once again to another non-playoff team in a blowout. This time it was the Memphis Grizzlies who took it to the Lakers 104-85, in a game they led almost the entire way.

The Lakers came out flat from the start, and by the middle of the first quarter found themselves behind by nine points, and they never recovered.  They trailed by the same nine points at halftime, and did actually get to within one point in the third quarter.  But that’s as close as they got to the lead.

Lamar Odom missed two free throws that would have at least tied the game early in the third quarter, the Grizzlies then went on a 19-4 run that buried the Lakers, despite Kobe Bryant scoring 21 of his game-high 28 points in the second half.  It was obvious on this night it was going to take more than Bryant’s heroics to pull out a win, but no one else offered much resistance.

The losses at home are not only alarming because of who the Lakers are losing to, it’s also how they are losing.  They’ve now been blown out by two sub-.500 teams by 19 points, in addition to the 16-point waxing by the Miami Heat on Christmas Day.  The only win in the last four at home was a close 102-98 victory over Philadelphia on New Year’s Eve, a game the Lakers could have easily lost.

Only two other Laker players scored in double figures Sunday.  Shannon Brown had 11 points off the bench, and Pau Gasol had 10 points and eight rebounds.  Andrew Bynum scored nine points, grabbed 11 rebounds, and had five blocks,  but took only eight shots from the floor.

The Lakers actually outshot the Grizzlies from the field, hitting 46.5% (33-71) to 45.6% (41-90), but turned the ball over 20 times, which allowed Memphis to take a staggering, 19 more shots.  That was the difference in the game.  The Lakers were also outrebounded 44-37, but that stat was not nearly as damaging as the turnovers.

Rudy Gay, who missed the team’s loss on Saturday in Utah, scored 27 points on 10-19 from the field.  Zach Randolph scored 21 points to go along with eight rebounds, and O.J. Mayo torched the Lakers off the bench with 15 points.

Bryant also picked up his fifth technical foul in the last six games, as it appears his frustration is growing with more than just the officiating.

The Lakers next game is Tuesday night at home against the woeful Detroit Pistons, whom the Lakers beat easily 103-90 back on November 17th in Detroit.  In that game, Bryant had 33 points and nine rebounds, Gasol had 25 and 12 rebounds, and Odom had 15 points and 14 rebounds.

Link: Lakers vs. Grizzlies Box Score