This Will Make For An Epic First Round Playoff Series: Grizzlies Beat Lakers 95-93

Rudy Gay scored 25 points, including a key three-pointer with 29.5 seconds remaining, as the Memphis Grizzlies edged the Los Angeles Lakers, 95-93, spoiling a milestone night for All-Star Kobe Bryant.

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VIDEO: Lakers-Grizzlies Highlights, And Some Stray Thoughts

Go ahead and enjoy those highlights above. That's about as good as NBA basketball will get. You have the Lakers, with more star power than the entire Atlantic Division, and then you have the Memphis Grizzlies, the feel-good upstarts that just happen to be the most exciting team in the league these days. They went back-and-forth all night, the Lakers gave their best shot over and over again, and the Grizzlies responded every time. Remember when Marc Gasol smothered Kobe Bryant on a late-fourth quarter possession? Kobe and Rudy trading killer threes? Zach Randolph carrying Memphis down the stretch? Because yeah, those things happened.

Last night was just a prelude. Those two teams are going to play a classic first round series in April. Why? Because it's written in the NBA stars. This is the way it must happen. As noted earlier today, the Memphis Grizzlies have been the antithesis of the L.A. Lakers for the past ten years. Just awful. Futility-in-a-basketball-team. While the Grizzlies were contemplating relocation, the Lakers won a title with the superstar that Memphis had traded to save money. It's that kind of relationship.

L.A. is like the hotter older sister, that's also valedictorian, and stole the only guy that'd ever made Memphis special. On the other side, Memphis is the gawky girl with glasses that's really good at cooking and has great taste in music. These girls are constantly, unfairly, ignored. That's the Grizzlies.

And yes, this year's been a jarring departure from the norm for them. People like each other, the players are all talented and young and brimming with potential, and they've actually been successful all year long. But that doesn't automatically erase the last ten years.

I mean, really. Their most notable move since the year 2000 was trading superstar Pau Gasol for 30-cents-on-the-dollar to the Lakers. Their greatest contribution to the league, in the history of their franchise, came when they rejuvenated a different franchise. Talk about terrible karma. That's why their redemption this season can only happen against Los Angeles, in the playoffs, in a fabulous six game series, where they'll ultimately lose, but will earn the respect of the champs. This is the way it's supposed to happen.

A superstar with a goofy frame and the doofiest name in the history of superstardom (Rudy Gay) goes toe-to-toe with somebody who was preordained in every possible way to be a famous basketball player (Kobe Bryant). Zach Randolph being counted on in a meaningful playoff game. Overachieving Marc Gasol vs. his overpaid older brother, Pau. The NBA's peasants rise up against the proudest franchise of them all. IT'S PERFECT.

And if last night's any indication, it'll be really, really entertaining.


Straight Outta Vancouver: Grizzlies Come Back to Beat Lakers 95-93

Memphis’ blog Straight Outta Vancouver enjoyed watching Rudy Gay put up 25 in the Grizzlies’ 95-93 win over the Lakers. However it was someone else who stood out at the MVP.

Rudy Gay came back in style, oftentimes making supposed lock-down defender Ron Artest look foolish en route to 25 huge points, mostly coming at key points right at the start and finish. Zach Randolph got 22 with 17 rebounds despite playing against both Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom, two heads of the monster many consider the deepest trio of bigs in the league.

But the gameball just might belong to one native Memphian who wasn’t wearing a scrap of Lakers colors tonight, waiver wire pickup Lester Hudson. Who cares that Huddy got a little wild with his shot selection when he hit the court for his second stint off the bench? For a few fleeting minutes it looked like the Grizzlies had lost their steam, until Hudson took the court and dropped a couple threes to pull the capacity crowd right back into the game.

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