Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 3)

Series starts 11/6

Game 1: Friday, November 6th
Game 2: Monday, February 1st
Game 3: Tuesday, February 23rd

Lakers 99

(43-14, 17-9 away)

Grizzlies 98

(28-28, 18-11 home)

    Coverage: NBATV

    8:00 PM ET, February 23, 2010

    FedExForum, Memphis, TN

    1 2 3 4 T
    LAL 27 26 23 2399
    MEM 16 32 33 1798

    Top Performers

    LAL: K. Bryant 32 Pts, 7 Reb, 6 Ast, 3 Stl, 2 Blk

    Mem: Z. Randolph 20 Pts, 14 Reb, 3 Ast, 4 Stl, 3 Blk

    Lakers-Grizzlies Preview


    Kobe Bryant couldn't take the last-second shot in the defending champions' last game, but he might have the ball in his hands if there's a similar situation Tuesday.

    With Bryant possibly set to return after missing the last five games with a sprained left ankle, the well-rested Los Angeles Lakers visit the Memphis Grizzlies.

    Bryant, who hasn't played since Feb. 5, was receiving treatment in the Lakers' training room Thursday when Derek Fisher missed a 21-footer as time expired in an 87-86 loss to visiting Boston.

    "We couldn't find a way to score in the last few minutes," said coach Phil Jackson, whose team made one field goal in the final 7:14. "I think we had some pretty good shots. We just couldn't convert."

    Pau Gasol, who had 22 points, refused to use Bryant's absence as an excuse.

    "No matter who's out, no matter what the circumstances are in the game, we still have to want to win the game, no matter who we're playing against," Gasol said. "We had a chance."

    The Lakers have not played the last four days and the time off could be enough to get Bryant back in the lineup for the Western Conference-leading Lakers (42-14), who are 4-1 without the 12-time All-Star.

    Bryant, 34 points shy of passing Reggie Miller (25,279) for 13th all-time in scoring, is averaging 38.0 in his last five games in Memphis. After scoring 41 in a 114-98 home win over the Grizzlies on Nov. 6, Bryant matched a season high with 44 and passed Jerry West as the Lakers' all-time leading scorer in a 95-93 loss at FedEx Forum on Feb. 1. Swarmed by Grizzlies defenders in the final seconds, Bryant passed to Ron Artest, who missed a 3-pointer as the Lakers had their four-game winning streak in Memphis snapped.

    The Grizzlies (28-27), who also broke a five-game losing streak to Los Angeles in that matchup, have dropped four straight at home since that contest.

    Memphis, tied with Houston for 10th in the West, rebounded from Friday's 100-87 double-overtime loss to visiting Miami with a 104-94 victory at New Jersey on Sunday.

    The Grizzlies trailed by 18 points in the first half but rallied for just their third win in 11 games.

    "We just had to relax a little bit and come out and play," said O.J. Mayo, who scored 10 of his 24 during a 17-0 second-half run.

    If Memphis is going to avoid its first five-game slide at home since a six-game stretch from Feb. 20-March 21 of last season, it will likely have to improve on offense. Since averaging 107.1 points during their franchise-record 11-game home winning streak from Dec. 18-Jan. 25, the Grizzlies are scoring 92.7 per game while dropping five of six at FedEx Forum.

    The Lakers have won six of seven on the road, holding opponents to an average of 90.1 points.

    Gasol, averaging 18.4 points, 12.4 rebounds and 3.2 blocks during Bryant's absence, will play his fourth game in Memphis since getting traded to Los Angeles late in the 2007-08 season. Gasol had 10 points and nine rebounds in the Feb. 1 loss, while his younger brother, Marc, scored 11 with 13 boards for the Grizzlies.

    Zach Randolph, who will try to post his seventh straight double-double, is averaging 21.5 points and 16.0 rebounds against the Lakers this season.

    Rudy Gay led the Grizzlies in scoring with 22 and 25 points, respectively, in the previous two matchups with Los Angeles. He is averaging 23.7 in the Lakers' last three visits to Memphis.