The Memphis Grizzlies sent the Los Angeles Lakers stumbling to their third straight loss last night in a 98-96 victory, with huge games from Mike Conley and Rudy Gay.
Conley scored a season-high 28 points and shot 10-13 from the floor in one of his most efficient games of the season.
He scored 10 points in the final quarter and, despite a turnover that gave the Lakers one final chance to tie or win the game, Conley was one of the main reasons the Grizzlies were able to pull out a win over the two-time defending champs.
Rudy Gay also had a huge night, especially on the defensive end of the floor. He registered a career best six blocks, including blocking Ron Artest's potential game-winning three in the final seconds of the game.
While he was relatively quiet on offense, finishing with just 14 points for the game, Gay did an amazing job of holding Artest in check for a majority of the game.
Kobe Bryant struggled mightily from the floor and while he managed to lead the game in scoring with 29 points, it took him nearly that many shots to reach that total.
Bryant finished nine of 25 from the floor and just one for six from downtown; 10 of his points came from the line.
While Bryant usually pulls through in the final moments of close games for the Lakers, his poor shooting definitely didn't do them any favors last night.
If the Grizzlies can continue to play solid defense, they have proven they are capable of beating some of the best teams in the NBA this season. They now hold victories over the Miami Heat and the Lakers this season in close games that came down to the final possession.
Rebounding is an area Memphis definitely needs to continue to work on, however, as they were out-rebounded 42-29 by the Lakers.
There were plenty of occasions where Zach Randolph was the only player for Memphis crashing the boards on the offensive glass and that is something that needs to change moving forward.
The Grizzlies can't afford to give away extra possessions and miss opportunities against quality opponents by being lazy on the glass if they intend to make a serious run at the playoffs this season.
Memphis has now won four of its last five games and four straight at home.
If the team can build on this win and continue to improve on the defensive end of the floor, the Grizzlies should start climbing up in the standings in the Western Conference.
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