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GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Memphis Grizzlies 18 21 23 22 84
Play by Play Los Angeles Lakers 25 21 22 18 86
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Kobe's Lakers hold off Grizzlies 86-84

By GREG BEACHAM


Posted Apr 06 2013 1:03AM

LOS ANGELES (AP) Kobe Bryant had 24 points and nine assists, Pau Gasol added 19 points, and the Los Angeles Lakers stayed in the final playoff position in the Western Conference with an 86-84 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night.

Dwight Howard hit a free throw with 4.1 seconds left for the Lakers, who have won three straight in the final weeks of their desperate push for a postseason spot. Los Angeles also avoided getting swept in its season series with the Grizzlies, whose four-game winning streak ended.

Mike Conley scored 21 points before missing a potential go-ahead jumper with 5 seconds left and another layup before the buzzer for playoff-bound Memphis, which fell one game behind Denver for the fourth seed in the West. The Grizzlies couldn't score in the final 2 1/2 minutes.

Copyright 2013 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited



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Points Bryant, 24
Rebounds Howard, 10
Assists Bryant, 9
Steals Gasol (MEM), 3
Blocks Gasol (MEM), 2
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POSTGAME QUOTES



Mike D'Antoni:

On tonight’s game:
“It was a good win. We didn’t play real well, we missed a lot of shots and stuff but they’re a hard team to hold off, just because they took the air out of the crowd and the game and they’re very good defensively. Mike Conley has turned into a premier point guard, he’s good. So you know, good win.”

On the playoff push:
“We still have 6 more games, so we’re not out of the woods at all, we don’t think we are. We know every game has got to be a win, if it is then its in our hands so we’re thinking about Sunday. We’ll get these guys rested tonight as much as we can and we’ll get ready tomorrow to play Sunday at 12:30.”

On Dwight Howard’s reaction to Mike Conley’s drive:
“I thought he did a great job. He tried to avoid contact and stayed big enough to bother the shot. I thought he defended it perfectly. We had a foul to give and I told Steve [Blake] and Kobe [Bryant] to use it when they needed to. I thought we might have fouled when he started the drive but that’s a tough thing to call. But I thought Dwight [Howard] reacted really well and did a great job”

On Pau Gasol:
“Pau [Gasol] keeps getting better. He did a great job guarding his brother [Marc Gasol]….he did a good job and he’s playing well. He’s passing the ball well, he’s facilitating, he’s another playmaker that’s on the floor and he’s playing great.”




Kobe Bryant:

On how the team pulled out the victory tonight:
“I think our defense was really solid. We did a good job of locking in on them, and making their shots tough.”

On the last defensive stop:
“Well, you want to force little guys into our seven-footers, and make them take contested twos. That’s what we were able to do.”

On what Dwight Howard had to do to make the critical free-throw:
“I think he’s very comfortable shooting his free-throws now. When he steps up there he believes he’s going to make them, and I think that’s the big difference.”

On what the team needs to do to stay focused down the stretch:
“We have big games coming up against tough opponents. I think at this point in the season it should be very easy for us to maintain our focus.”




Pau Gasol:

On how the team pulled out the victory:
“We just had to come out with stops, effort, and communication, and we did. We stopped a very talented team. We won by two points, but we’ll take it. It’s a great win for us against a great team. We’re happy about it.”

On the turnover problem in the third quarter:
“We didn’t come out sharp at all in the third, and that’s something we can’t afford at all against really good teams like Memphis. We really have to tighten up. We can’t afford those mistakes, those easy lay-ups, easy points for the opponent, because they get right back in the game and gain momentum. Luckily, we regained it and stretched the game out a little bit, but we can’t really do that.”

On what the team is learning from getting wins in these tough games:
“This is a playoff type of game. It comes down to the wire, a very physical game, a grind out game, this is what it takes, and this is what it’s about. You come out with stops and beat your opponent down the stretch. I think these types of games are good for us. We’re growing as a team, and we know what it takes. Let’s see if we can finish these last five or six games out strong.”

On what the team has to do to beat the Clippers on Sunday:
“First of all, get some rest tomorrow because it’s an early game. We won’t have as much time to recover, being an early game. Then, go at them, and be aggressive. Take it to them. You can’t play passive against the Clippers, they are too talented, they have a point guard that runs the team really well, and they have too many weapons. We just have to continue to play defensively well, take away the easy points from our opponent, and give ourselves a chance.”\




Earl Clark:

On tonight’s game:
“It definitely was a dogfight out there today but we just stayed together, played defense, we rounded and when we do that we can be in the game and beat anybody, so that’s just what we did. We just didn’t break down you know. We just kept with it.”

On his high energy:
“Yeah you know it’s the last couple games during the season and these are must-win games and I don’t want to go home. I want to make it to the playoffs. I don’t want to be on the Laker team that didn’t make it to the playoffs. I don’t want to be remembered that way so I’m just coming out and giving it my all. I feel like my body got a little bit of rest with Pau [Gasol] coming back and not playing as much minutes so I got my bounce back a little bit.”

On his block:
“I was just trying to time it. I knew he was going to try and go up and dunk it so I just waited for him and it was just great timing, you know great block. I was able to recover it and we got an open look after the play, so it was just a great defensive play.”




Dwight Howard:

On what the key was defensively tonight:
“Our defense was pretty good tonight. We did a good job of trying to contain their big guys in the paint; I think they shot a lot of jump shots tonight. I know Marc [Gasol] made a couple, but that’s better than both of those guys in the paint causing havoc. So, we did a good job of doing that.”

On the last defensive possession:
“I told Steve [Blake] to get up into him and make him a driver. I wanted to step up and contest his shot, and make him take a tough shot. That’s what I tried to do.”

On how he had to play under control after getting his fifth foul:
“I was just trying to stay composed. I lost my composure for a second, and I just wanted to make up for it and get some good stops on the defensive end. I’m just happy we got the win.”




Lionel Hollins:

On tonight’s game:
“It was a hard fought game; it went down to the wire. We just didn’t get a loose ball or rebound that we needed in the whole game, especially late in the fourth quarter. I think there was 49 seconds left and they got three opportunities at the bucket and I think they eventually got free throws out of it. We played hard and we played our game they just made more plays than us.”

On third quarter:
“We started off the third quarter really well defensively and scoring. All of a sudden, we were scoring so easily so we just let up defensively. We just couldn’t keep it going consistently through the third quarter. We came back in the fourth quarter and we couldn’t get stops because we couldn’t get rebounds to finish off our possessions.”




Mike Conley:

On the game:
“We executed like we were supposed to and tried to get a shot up. We tried to get some penetration and see what we can make out of it, but tonight just didn’t work out.”

“We knew that the third quarter was going to be huge for us. That we needed to come out with a different gear, a different level of intensity. And we did that. We got a good lead [in the third quarter]. They just made too many runs and the end of the third quarter. In the fourth quarter we couldn’t fight back from it.”

“This is a team that is fighting for a playoff spot and playing very well.”




Tayshaun Prince:

On the game:
“It is structured the same way in terms of how we grind our games. We play together, share the ball, trust each other defensively, and stuff like that.”

“We played well. Look we got off to a slow start, but we got off a lot of shots that we wanted in the first half, but didn’t knock them down, which is tough for us. But, we know we are going to respond and come out in the second half, which we have done all year long. Since I have been here we have come out and responded right away, but they had another punch and they came right back. We set up for a lot of jump shots throughout the game and the times we did get to the rim and tried to be aggressive we got fouled [...] but we played through it. Those things happen.




Jerryd Bayless:

On the game:
“We just didn’t get the key stops at the end and we gave up a couple of offensive rebounds. That was pretty tough, but overall, we put ourselves in a position to win and just didn’t close it out tonight.”

“Make [Dwight] chose tough shots. He is obviously a great player and if we make him shot tough shots then it will be difficult for any player. But, that was the main thing is trying to make him take tough shots.”

“I am just trying to go out there and make things happen whether it is offensive or defensive. A lot of guys are playing well as a team and we just have to continue going like that into the playoffs and we should be okay.”

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GRIZZLIES-LAKERS PREVIEW

By JEFF BARTL

Posted Apr 04 2013 2:35PM

Kobe Bryant gladly will deal with sore muscles from playing nearly every minute in order to help push the Los Angeles Lakers into the playoffs.

Steve Nash could return from a hamstring issue for Friday night's home matchup with the Memphis Grizzlies, though, potentially easing the burden on the 34-year-old Bryant.

"I feel sore right now. My back is a little sore and my hamstrings are a little sore," Bryant said after recording his 19th career triple-double with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists while playing all but 56 seconds of Tuesday's 101-81 win over Dallas.

"... I just have to push through it a little bit right now. Hopefully we can get a game and get a little breathing room."

Los Angeles (38-35), which leads Utah by one-half game for the Western Conference's final playoff spot, has won three of four. Bryant also played more than 47 minutes of Saturday's 103-98 victory at Sacramento after Nash was injured early in that contest before sitting out Tuesday.

Metta World Peace also has been out after having surgery to repair a torn left meniscus.

Coach Mike D'Antoni said he needs to monitor Bryant's minutes due to the upcoming schedule. The Lakers face the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday afternoon before a back-to-back - Tuesday versus New Orleans and Wednesday at Portland.

Los Angeles then finishes with home games against Golden State, San Antonio and Houston.

"We have to watch it because we have to play Friday and Sunday, so we've got to be careful," D'Antoni said. "Going forward we're going to try and get him some more time, get Steve back and get (Bryant) some more time (to rest)."

Bryant got plenty of help Tuesday, as Dwight Howard posted his 14th straight double-double with 24 points and 12 rebounds while Earl Clark added 17 points and 12 boards off the bench.

"We have a tougher schedule, but I wouldn't have it any other way," Bryant said. "If you want to get to the playoffs and expect to make some noise, you have to beat playoff teams and that includes Memphis and the Clippers and those types of guys."

The Grizzlies have hosted and won both meetings with the Lakers this season. Zach Randolph posted a double-double and Mike Conley had 19 points in each victory.

Memphis (51-24), coming off a 94-76 win over Portland on Wednesday, has won four straight and is battling Denver for the West's only top-four seed which won't go to a division winner.

"Obviously, we are chasing that home-court advantage so need we need every (win) we can get," said Conley, who scored a game-high 20 points Wednesday and is averaging 21.0 over his last six.

Coach Lionel Hollins, though, is more concerned with simply finishing the season in strong fashion.

"The players may think about (home-court advantage), but I just want us to play well," Hollins said. "We had home-court last year (against the Clippers) and we lost the series. We've been in series where we didn't have home court and we won. Wherever you go you've just got to play well."

While the Grizzlies, allowing an NBA-low 89.8 points per game, have already wrapped up a playoff berth, the Lakers aren't feeling as comfortable.

"We're desperate, and the players know it," D'Antoni said.

Bryant has averaged 29.5 points in this season series, but Howard has totaled nine and a sore shoulder caused him to miss the second half of the last meeting - a 106-93 defeat Jan. 23.


Copyright 2012 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Probable Starters .
  Lakers    
  #24 Bryant SF #21 Prince  
  #16 GasolPF #50 Randolph  
  #12 Howard C #33 Gasol  
  #20 Meeks SG #9 Allen  
  #5 Blake PG #11 Conley  


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Lakers Kobe Bryant
(bone spur, left foot) is probable.
Pau Gasol
(strained plantar fascia, right foot) is probable.
Jordan Hill
(torn labrum, left hip/herniated disc) is out.
Dwight Howard
(torn labrum, right shoulder) is probable.
Antawn Jamison
(sprained right wrist) is probable.
Steve Nash
(strained right hamstring) is doubtful.
Metta World Peace
(lateral meniscus tear, left knee) is out.
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Grizzlies Tony Wroten
(migraines) is day‐to‐day.
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11/24 - LAL 98 @ MEM 106
02/24 - LAL 93 @ MEM 106
04/02 - MEM @ LAL
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