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(Tuesday, December 17th)
Final Score: LA Lakers 96, Memphis 92
Memphis, TN (SportsNetwork.com) - Kobe Bryant played well in the second game of a back-to-back and finished with 21 points on 9-of-18 shooting as the Los Angeles Lakers downed the struggling Memphis Grizzlies, 96-92, on Tuesday.
Pau Gasol added 21 points and nine rebounds and Nick Young came off the bench and provided 18 points for the Lakers, who bounced back from Monday's 114-100 setback in Atlanta.
Zach Randolph led the Grizzlies with 18 points, 16 rebounds and five assists, but Memphis is still mired in a 1-6 slump, with five of those losses coming on its home floor.
Bryant, who netted just eight points in Tuesday's loss, appeared to injure his left leg late in the third quarter -- the same leg in which he tore his Achilles last April.
The future Hall-of-Famer walked to the bench gingerly and watched the Lakers' reserves build a double-digit lead early in the fourth, with Young's 3-pointer giving the visitors an 84-73 cushion with 7 1/2 minutes to play.
A quick 8-0 run brought the Grizzlies back within one possession, as Jerryd Bayless got a couple of runners to fall, Tony Allen put in a layup off a turnover and Bayless added a pull-up jumper to cap the rally.
Bryant was back in the floor at this point and made his presence known with a shot clock-beating 3-pointer to put the Lakers on top, 91-85, with 2:39 on the clock.
"I know I'm back when a slew of jumpers start going, especially against a defender like Tony Allen who is draped all over and is very physical. That's when I know I'm starting to feel good," Bryant said.
Allen lost an easy defensive rebound out of bounds with 1:06 remaining, and a miss by Bayless the next time down ended any chance of a Memphis comeback.
The Lakers had a terrific start as they shot 14-of-22 (63.6 percent) in the opening quarter and raced out to a 15-point lead, 34-19.
"What I wasn't pleased with was that we eased into a game that we needed to start quickly," Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger said.
Memphis rookie Nick Calathes hit a 3-pointer and drove in for a layup in the final minute of the period, and Jon Leuer connected from long range to start the second, pulling the Grizzlies within 34-27.
It was a 52-47 game in the Lakers' favor at halftime, and a futile third quarter from both offenses yielded a tie game, 67-67, heading to the fourth.
Grizzlies forward Mike Miller limped to the locker room late in the fourth quarter after turning his ankle ... Memphis guard Mike Conley sat out with a left thigh contusion ... The Lakers a 2-4 since Bryant returned from Achilles surgery ... Allen finished with 16 points.
12/18 00:59:43 ET