Memphis (17-54) at Los Angeles (38-32)

  • Game info: 10:30 pm EDT Tue Mar 27, 2007
  • TV: FSW
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Kobe Bryant believes his four-game streak of 50-point games revitalized the Los Angeles Lakers. Now that the run is over, the Lakers look to avoid a letdown when they host the last-place Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday.

Los Angeles (38-32) is just 3-7 in its last 10 games against Memphis (17-54), but the Lakers come in riding a season-high five-game winning streak.

Bryant has averaged 53.6 points during the stretch, which began when he scored a season-high 65 points in a March 16 overtime win over Portland. He then scored 50 against Minnesota, 60 against Memphis and 50 against New Orleans before the streak ended Sunday with a 43-point effort in a 115-113 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Sunday.

Prior to the five-game winning streak, the Lakers had dropped seven straight - the longest losing streak of Phil Jackson’s NBA head coaching career. Now, a win Monday would give Los Angeles its first six-game winning streak since an 11-game run from March 13-April 2, 2004.

“I think it energized us as a team and it energized the city. I think that’s great,” Bryant said of his run of 50-point games. “Before that, it seemed like we were kind of dead in the water. We’re playing with a lot more energy right now.”

On Sunday, Bryant went 15-for-33 from the floor and had nine rebounds. With his 43-point effort, he fell short of Wilt Chamberlain’s record of seven consecutive games scoring 50 or more, set in the 1961-62 season.

“What? No!” Bryant said when asked if he felt any disappointment. “I’ve always said Wilt’s a human video game. For me to be in the same breath with him, even if it’s a short little breath, is pretty cool.”

Los Angeles, which is looking to improve to 2-0 on its five-game homestand, has moved into sixth place in the Western Conference, with a four-game lead over the eighth-place Clippers.

The Lakers face a Memphis team that dropped its fourth straight game Monday, falling 105-87 at Phoenix. Pau Gasol had 21 points and 10 rebounds, while Rudy Gay added 13 points, but the Grizzlies fell to 0-2 on their six-game road trip and a league-worst 5-30 away from home this season.

Memphis played without starters Mike Miller and Damon Stoudemire, who were both sidelined with knee tendinitis and are uncertain for this contest.

The undermanned Grizzlies were also missing reserves forward Brian Cardinal (arthroscopic surgery on his left knee) and guard Kyle Lowry (fractured left wrist).

“Obviously we’re short-handed,” Gasol said. “We have a lot of guys done but we’ve still got to do with the guys that we have. We have to be able to play with a little bit more confidence offensively … because that’s the only way we’re going to be able to stay in the game.”

Los Angeles has taken two of three games in the season series, including Bryant’s 60-point effort in a 121-119 victory at Memphis last Thursday. Bryant had 21 points when the Lakers defeated the Grizzlies 91-81 on Nov. 12 at Staples Center.

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Tuesday, Mar 27