The Los Angeles Lakers entered their contest with the Memphis Grizzlies having won five of their last seven games, but it's clear at this point that they aren't over the hump just yet. The Grizzlies are arguably the hottest team in the NBA to start the 2012-13 season, but the Lakers' 106-98 loss emphasizes the struggles that the team from L.A. has had thus far.
From the onset of the game, the Grizzlies were the more poised team. They came out with more energy and more efficiency, and as a result, they were able to take advantage in transition. The Lakers were simply outplayed early, and they trailed Memphis 18-34 by the end of the first quarter.
L.A. gave up way too many open shots in the first period, but it was able to storm back early in the second. Its defense ramped up, the rebounding improved and the offense began playing at a pace that allowed the team to create easy scoring opportunities. The Lakers cut the lead to three at one point, but they would allow a Memphis run, and they trailed by seven points heading into the third.
The third quarter was relatively back and forth, as the two teams each had mini runs at some point. But in what had become familiar fashion, Memphis once again established momentum and began to take over. The Lakers allowed too many easy shots, and they committed too many pointless fouls.
L.A. came out late and made four three-pointers in the first three minutes of the final period. The Lakers' bench is what got them back into this game, and a lineup of Dwight Howard and four reserves showed the most defensive effort we'd seen all game.
This contest came down to whether or not Los Angeles could make up for its inconsistencies late, but not even a strong run by Kobe Bryant could turn the game in L.A.'s favor.
The Lakers have yet to win a road game this year, and they've now fallen to 6-7 on the young season.