(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
By Kevin R. Linares
The Los Angeles Lakers got a much needed win at the Staples Center against the Memphis Grizzlies beating them 86 to 84. With only six games remaining in the regular season the Lakers need to pull away from the Utah Jazz and Dallas Mavericks. The win did not come easy for the purple and gold as the Grizzlies came close to taking the game into over time as time expired.
Kobe Bryant led the game for the Lakers scoring 24 points and dished out 9 assists. Bryant continues to play heavy minutes for the shorthanded teams playing 43 minutes, more than anyone else on the floor played tonight. Pau Gasol has continued to show consistency putting up great numbers scoring 19 points against his brothers’ team. Both Antawn Jamison and Earl Clark scored 13 points each off the bench. Dwight Howard did get it going in the game being in foul trouble and only scored 9 points. Steve Blake who started in place for the injured Steve Nash managed the floor well and scored two big 3 pointers. Jodie Meeks had a quiet night in the starting line up replacing Metta World Peace scoring 2 points.
Steve Nash will continue to rest up with no word if he will be ready in time for the next game. Metta World Peace seemed to be having a good recovery as he tweeted out earlier in the day “My first day of running today went excellent.” With the Laker injuries right now they have been playing with just seven players getting minutes. Kobe Bryant has felt the heavy minutes looking tired late in the game as he missed a couple of shots to pull away from the Grizzlies late in the fourth quarter.
The Lakers remain at the 8th spot just half a game over the Utah Jazz who beat the New Orleans Hornets keeping them in the fight for the final Western Conference playoff spot. Next up for the Jazz are the Golden State Warriors. The Dallas Mavericks are right behind the Jazz, 3 games behind the Lakers and also won tonight against the Sacramento Kings. The last few games left in the season will be must wins for all these teams with their shot at the playoffs being at stake. Up next for the Lakers is a big game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday. The Clippers are looking to sweep the season series, while the Lakers look to show they will be a threat in the playoffs if they indeed make it.
(AP Photo/Ben Margot)
By Kevin R. Linares
The Los Angeles Lakers could not get it together against the Golden State Warriors losing 103 to 109. The Warriors, currently in the 6th seed, did not let the Lakers come close, leading by double digits almost the whole game. No one expected this game to be an easy win for the Lakers but after taking a couple days off there was no excuse for the way they played throughout the game.
Stephen Curry was questionable for tonight’s game but did play and leading his team in scoring with 25 points. Jarrett Jack gave the Lakers problems the last time they met and did so again off the bench scoring 19 points. The Lakers did make a push late in the 4th quarter but dug themselves in too big of a whole. Every time it looked like the Lakers could make a run the Warriors took over and widened the deficit. The little trouble the Lakers gave Golden State came from Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash. Bryant scored 36 points while Nash added 21, which was the same amount of points the bench scored all together.
Pau Gasol was in the starting line up for the second game in a row after coming off his foot injury. Gasol played limited minutes again scoring 7 points and still needs time to get back into rhythm. Antawn Jamison played tonight after suffering an injury to his wrist against the Wizards. Injuries are still hurting the Lakers and you can now add Metta World Peace as the latest victim. World Peace strained his left knee and after the game Mike D’Antoni did say there was a lot of pain but no word on whether he would sit out or not. World Peace did not give to many details himself when talking to reporters just saying that he would have to wait and see tomorrow. If World Peace were to miss a game, Jodie Meeks or Earl Clark might be expected to start.
The Lakers could have looked to secure a playoff spot with a win against the Wizards or Warriors but after losing both they are now closer to falling out of the playoffs if they do not find a way to win. The Utah Jazz are trailing the Lakers by just one game and the Dallas Mavericks are making a late run behind a game and a half. The Lakers play again on Wednesday taking on the Minnesota Timberwolves who will be finishing up back to back games in Minnesota.
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
By Kevin R. Linares
Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol returned to the line up after sitting out with injuries but the Lakers could not defeat the Washington Wizards falling 100 to 103. Another game that should have been an easy win at home became another disappointing loss in the Lakers disappointing season. The Lakers were up by 18 at one point in the game but could not hold on to the lead. Washington was led by former Laker Trevor Ariza who scored 25 points, hitting seven 3-pointers.
Kobe Bryant hit a three to tie the game late in the 4th quarter and would get another opportunity to send the game to overtime with seconds left when he received a pass from Dwight but the shot did not go down. Kobe did not have his time reduced even though he was returning from an injury. He led his team in scoring with 21 points and added 11 assists as well. Dwight Howard, Jodie Meeks and Antawn Jamison joined Bryant in scoring double digits. Dwight Howard scored 20 points and had 15 rebounds. Meeks scored 16 points and Jamison put up 11 points coming off the bench. As the two stars returned from injury, the Lakers unfortunately suffered another one as Jamison sprained his right wrist. Jamison received an x-ray after the game that came out negative and will have an MRI on Saturday.
Pau Gasol only played 20 minutes but did start in the game scoring four points. Gasol still has to work on his conditioning after missing about six weeks with the injury to his foot. There was much criticism on Gasol and Mike D’Antoni earlier in the season. There were questions whether Gasol would be able to fit in D’Antoni’s system and if Mike would be able to find a way of utilize the Spaniard. As Gasol continues to work back into game shape it will be interesting to see if he will continue in the starting line up or perhaps move back to the bench where he did provide a big boost. Gasol was not too happy coming off the bench but did mention that he would take the role for the season if the team needed him to this season.
With the loss tonight the Lakers could not take advantage of better securing the 8th spot as they remain ahead of the Utah Jazz by only a game and a half. Next up for the Lakers is the start of a four game road trip starting on Monday against the 6th seeded Golden State Warriors.
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The Lakers continue to struggle in winning back to back games as they lost against the Phoenix Suns 76 to 99. The shots were not going in and the 7 man rotation Mike D’Antoni played with his stars Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant out looked too tired for the Suns.
Dwight Howard and Steve Nash had trouble knocking down shots but scored in double digits. Nash led the way with 19 points while Howard added 16. Antawn Jamison and Steve Blake scored a combined 43 points against the Sacramento Kings in the first game of the back to back games but could not repeat another great performance against the Suns. Steve Blake did have a solid game scoring 13 points but Jamison only had 3.
The Lakers for the most part came into the game sluggish and tired from the previous night especially on defence. It was clear that they needed their super star Kobe Bryant and a possible early return from Gasol who were out with injuries.
D’Antoni did not put in Devin Ebanks, Darius Morris, Chris Duhon and Robert Sacre until the last few minutes of the game. With a veteran filled rotation, Mike could have looked to provide a few more minutes of rest by maybe playing one or two of the four players out of the rotation earlier in the game. Pau Gasol is still out and is not giving a specific date on a return but said it would be soon. Bryant will look to return to the floor on Friday.
The Lakers are ahead of the Utah Jazz and caught a break in the conference standings because Utah was defeated by the New York Knicks 83 to 90. The Lakers have two days off before their next game on Friday against the Washington Wizards at Staples Center.