If Kobe Bryant shoots nearly as well Monday night against Memphis as he did the last time he faced the Grizzlies, the Los Angeles star has a good chance to finally become the Lakers' all-time leading scorer.
As Bryant moves closer to that milestone, the Lakers look to conclude their longest road trip of the season with a fifth consecutive victory while trying for a sixth straight win over the Grizzlies.
The 31-year-old Bryant is 28 points behind Jerry West on the club's all-time scoring list after recording 19 points and hitting the go-ahead basket with 7.3 seconds left to give Los Angeles (37-11) a 90-89 win at Boston on Sunday.
Bryant, who's been bothered by a stiff ankle of late, has 25,164 points during his stellar 14-year career -- all with Los Angeles. He's averaging 28.0 per game this season.
"I think it's a remarkable thing," said Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who needs one victory to pass Pat Riley for the top spot on the Lakers' all-time coaching list with 534. "He's pursuing it, and he's aggressive as an offensive ballplayer and he's going to be scoring for a while."
Though Bryant went 8 of 20 from the field Sunday, the Lakers held Boston to 16 fourth-quarter points to improve to 5-2 on the eight-game trip. Andrew Bynum finished with 19 points with 11 rebounds and helped the Western Conference-leading Lakers outscore the Celtics 18-0 in the paint in the final period.
As Los Angeles looks to conclude an already successful trip on a positive note at Memphis, Bryant has a chance to bounce back from Sunday's performance against a team he's victimized with a big night once this season. Bryant scored 41 points and went 19 for 30 from the field in the Lakers' 114-98 home win over the Grizzlies on Nov. 6.
"For the most part, we played pretty good defense on Kobe, but he hit tough shots," Memphis Rudy Gay said after scoring 22 points in that contest.
Bryant's averaging 33.0 points and shooting 51.5 percent in his last six games at Memphis, highlighted by a 60-point effort in a 121-119 Lakers victory there March 22, 2007.
Though the Grizzlies (25-21) are 17-6 at home this season, Los Angeles has won its last four trips to FedEx Forum.
Memphis, in the mix for a playoff spot in the crowded West, had its franchise-record 11-game home winning snapped with a 109-102 overtime loss to New Orleans on Saturday.
Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol had 25 points apiece and combined for 28 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who blew a 21-point, third quarter lead to lose consecutive games for the first time since Dec. 14-16.
"We thought we were going to win, and stopped moving the ball and didn't help each other," said Gasol, who'll face his brother, Pau, for the first time this season after the Lakers star missed their first meeting with a strained right hamstring.
"This is a lesson we have to learn."
Recently named an All-Star reserve, Randolph is averaging 23.9 points with 12.7 boards in his last eight games. He had 21 points and 15 rebounds in the November loss to the Lakers.