L.A. Lakers 110, Memphis 94
LOS ANGELES, March 31 (Ticker) --
The Los Angeles Lakers are
establishing some dominance at home. Shaquille O'Neal
establishing some dominance overall.
NBA TV highlights from|
O'Neal collected 34 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks as the
Lakers rolled to their 11th straight home win, a 110-94 victory
over the Memphis Grizzlies.
The three-time NBA Finals MVP began the season on the injured
list recovering from toe surgery and has not been his usual
overpowering self. But with the postseason three weeks away,
the 7-2, 350-pound superstar appears to be rounding into form.
"I think guys are focusing more because they know when the
playoffs come around, they know what to do and we prepare
ourselves," O'Neal said.
"We know what we're capable of doing and we know our track
record in the playoffs," superstar teammate Kobe Bryant said.
"We're going to utilize our experience as much as possible,
build as much rhythm and momentum as we can going into the
O'Neal overwhelmed Grizzlies center Lorenzen Wright
15-of-22 shots, many of them dunks. He set an early tone and
helped the Lakers grab the lead for good in the first quarter.
O'Neal controlled the paint on both ends, grabbing five
offensive rebounds and collecting half his team's blocks. The
Lakers held a whopping 62-30 advantage in points in the paint.
Down the stretch, O'Neal put on a show. He had a finger roll, a
dunk for a three-point play, a follow dunk and a no-look pass
to Bryant for a slam. He left to a standing ovation with 1:34
"I think we moved the ball a little bit better and we played
with a little more effort," O'Neal said.
In his last nine games, O'Neal is averaging 34.8 points, 10.2
rebounds and 2.5 blocks while shooting a staggering 62 percent
Asked how far the team is from being ready for the playoffs,
O'Neal said, "Eight games."
"It's building up. It's getting toward that," Bryant added.
"Tonight was a prime example of getting everybody involved."
Bryant had a late flurry to finish with 29 points, eight assists
and a career-high six steals. With the game in hand, he had a
driving reverse slam over defensive-minded Shane Battier
The Lakers (43-31) bounced back from Sunday's embarrassing
119-98 loss at Seattle to move within one-half game of
sixth-place Utah in the Western Conference. They have won four
of five, eight of 11, 17 of 23 and 23 of 31.
"We don't turn it on and off like a faucet," Bryant said. "I
think that's a huge misconception. I think you build toward it
gradually. You might not see the wins piling up, but the
momentum is a key."
LA has not lost at the Staples Center since a 117-110 setback to
New York on February 16 in which Knicks guard Allan Houston
scored 53 points.
"We're just trying to establish our home court," O'Neal said.
"If I can get the ball in a comfortable position, I think I can
do whatever it takes to keep that going."
"They have a really good team," Wright said. "I don't know why
they keep playing with everybody, playing around. When they
come to play, they can beat anybody. I guess they're just
saving it for the playoffs."
had 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who
fell to 2-28 all-time against the Lakers. They have lost all
three meetings this season, and the teams meet in Memphis on
Memphis lost in the Staples Center for the second straight
night. On Sunday, the Grizzlies dropped a 100-98 decision to
Jackson started Slava Medvedenko
instead of Mark Madsen
forward and was rewarded with an early burst of offense.
Medvedenko and Bryant each scored five points in a 16-5 run that
closed the first quarter and gave the Lakers a 30-20 lead.
"It was an opportunity for Slava," Jackson said. "We need
somebody offensively that can hold his own. We also need guys
that can hustle defensively and rebound for us. That's Mark's
O'Neal scored 10 points on four short jump shots and a dunk in
the second period, when the lead remained double digits.
Trailing, 54-40, the Grizzlies scored the first seven points of
the third quarter but got no closer until a dunk by Gasol made
it 74-68 late in the period. Bryant responded with a pretty
driving layup and a crosscourt pass to set up Devean George's
3-pointer at the horn for a 79-68 lead.
Memphis got no closer than nine points thereafter.
Medvedenko scored 11 points and Derek Fisher
added nine for the
Lakers, who shot 53 percent (47-of-88).
scored 20 points and Wright added 14 and 15 boards
for the Grizzlies, who shot 45 percent (39-of-86).