The L.A. Lakers couldn't hold the ball and the Memphis Grizzlies couldn't buy a bucket, but one team had to win.
This was not an aesthetically pleasing game of basketball. The L.A. Lakers, due to a combination of sluggishness and Lionel Hollins's rowdy, poaching defense, squandered possession after possession without a shot attempt and finished the night with 27 turnovers. Twenty-seven! Thanks to that bounty of takeaways, the Grizzlies attempted nineteen more shots than the Lakers, but just couldn't exploit that advantage. Memphis missed from pretty much every range, and got far too little scoring from its starting lineup. One team fumbled, the other team bricked, and none of us won. Except for the Lakers, 90-82.
Despite their utter inability to control the ball, Los Angeles succeeded enough in other realms to build a double-digit lead in the first half and never let the Grizzlies come all the way back. They got nice, balanced scoring from their starters (well, not you, Derek Fisher), with Kobe Bryant hitting some of his typically preposterous, injured-wrist-be-damned jumpers to lead the team with 26 points. The Laker frontcourt overwhelmed the short-handed (and just short) Grizzfolks inside to snag rebounds and get to the line. Add in uncharacteristically un-terrible shooting from outside (6-19 compared to 1-9 for Memphis), and you have enough L.A. scoring to cover for all those bungled possessions.
On the other end, it was the Grizzlies' bench that kept them even remotely afloat. Marreese Speights came out heaving in his first extended minutes as a Grizzly, popping enough snarly mid-ranged jumpers to notch 17 points, while O.J. Mayo contributed 15, and Quincy Pondexter tied a career-high with 14. All together, that's three reserves outscoring the entire Memphis starting lineup. Even without Zach Randolph, that's probably not advisable.
Meanwhile, the battle of Los Hermanos Gasol was relatively uneventful. They guarded each other intermittently and both had quiet offensive games, each making more of an impact on the glass. Marc's game was by far the quieter one, as he shot a dismal 0-9 and finished with just 2 points. The younger Gasol did add 11 rebounds and 7 assists, though Pau had him beat in the rebounding department with 15, and arguably in the passing department as well, if only on the merits of this sexy fast break dish to Andrew Bynum:
All told, both teams were consistently terrible in one offensive aspect, but only the Lakers could muster enough in the other aspects to come out in front. They move to 6-4 on the season, while Memphis falls to 3-5.