Pau Gasol never won a playoff game in six seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies.

By sitting out his first chance to play against his former team on Friday at Staples Center, Gasol hopes he'll be of more help to the Los Angeles Lakers as this year's playoffs get closer.

Gasol is expected to miss his eighth straight game Friday because of a sprained left ankle. He said before the Lakers' 108-95 loss to Charlotte on Wednesday that he aggravated the injury earlier in the week and he didn't expect to play until next week.

Gasol said Thursday he was disappointed to learn he will miss facing the Grizzlies.

"I was definitely looking forward to playing," Gasol said. "It was hard to accept that I wasn't going to be a part of the game. ... It would have been nice and special."

Gasol spent 6 1/2 seasons with Memphis (18-53) before being traded to the Lakers in early February. Despite three postseason appearances from 2004-06, the Grizzlies failed to win a playoff game, and rumors circulated that Gasol was unhappy with the situation in Memphis, where the Grizzlies currently have the second-worst record in the conference.

The Lakers (49-23) are 4-3 without Gasol in the lineup and are likely being cautious about bringing him back too soon for fear of risking further injury, especially considering the tight playoff race they're in.

Los Angeles is tied with Houston and San Antonio for the second-best record in the West, trailing conference-leading New Orleans by one game. The Lakers are two games into a five-game homestand, which they opened with Wednesday's surprising loss to a sub-.500 Bobcats team.

The game was the third in four days for Los Angeles, but Lakers forward Luke Walton said that didn't explain the team's poor play with so much on the line.

"If you don't show up ready to play, that's what's going to happen," he said. "There's no excuse for us to come out on our home court and not take care of business."

Kobe Bryant was ejected in the loss after picking up two technical fouls in a span of 29 seconds late in the fourth quarter. He had 27 points before the ejection but his departure didn't factor much in the final result, considering Los Angeles trailed 99-86 with 3:40 to play.

Bryant has 15 technicals this season, and one more means an automatic suspension.

The Grizzlies are coming off a 107-106 overtime loss to Sacramento on Wednesday. The Kings hit two free throws with 7.6 seconds remaining for the win.

Hakim Warrick had 26 points and eight rebounds, and Kyle Lowry added 16 points and five assists, but the Grizzlies had 24 turnovers and were outscored 30-16 at the free-throw line.

"I'm glad they did not buckle under and didn't quit," coach Marc Iavaroni said. "They are making plays and playing together. ... I am encouraged by what I saw."

The Lakers have won both games against the Grizzlies this season, including a 100-99 victory on Jan. 13. Andrew Bynum hurt his knee in that game and has yet to return from the injury.


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