Then again, Los Angeles seemed to have an ideal opportunity to get back into the win column in its last game, too.
The Lakers have taken seven of eight from the Grizzlies and will look to avoid their first three-game losing streak of the season when they travel to Memphis on Tuesday night.
After averaging 112.5 points in its first 14 games, Los Angeles (13-4) has been held to 95.3 per game over the last three while shooting a combined 39.9 percent.
Two nights after blowing a 19-point lead in a loss at Utah, the Lakers returned home Sunday to face an Indiana team which was at .500 and hadn’t won a road game against them since 1999. However, Los Angeles fell behind by as many as 15 points and lost 95-92.
“Focus, our energy and effort. … We need to sustain it throughout the whole game,” Lamar Odom(notes) said. “It was disappointing after letting a team come back from 19. … It was real disappointing and we have to go back to the drawing board.”
“We’re going to score points, but we’ve got to shore up the defense,” Bryant said. “We’ve got to execute better. We missed too many assignments, and we didn’t play with the right energy. … We can’t put all the pressure on the shooters to make shots all the time, because then they start thinking about their shot instead of just relaxing and shooting it.”
While Bryant is 6 for 13 from 3-point range in the last two games, Derek Fisher(notes) hasn’t made one in four straight and has shot a combined 3 for 21 from the field in the past three games. Still, Fisher is connecting on a career-high 47.2 percent of his 3-point attempts, and the Lakers are 7-0 when he scores in double figures.
Bryant has averaged 37.0 points in his last six games at Memphis, and the Lakers won five.
The 12-time All Star and two-time scoring champion ranks third all-time and first among active players with 105 40-point performances, seven of which have come against the Grizzlies. He only scored 23 in this season’s lone meeting but was among six Lakers in double figures in a 124-105 home win Nov. 2.
That remains the most points allowed this season by the Grizzlies, but they’ve been the ones doing plenty of scoring lately when playing at home. They have won three straight at FedEx Forum, averaging 106.0 points while shooting 50.8 percent from the floor.
Memphis (7-10), however, shot 42.4 percent Saturday night in a 92-86 loss at Cleveland, matching its second-lowest scoring output of the season.
The Grizzlies expect to have a better offensive performance Tuesday considering they won’t be so tired. They were held to a season-worst 35 points in the second half, possibly due to fatigue after playing Friday and not getting to Cleveland until 4 a.m.
“I’m not going to get into excuses,” said Rudy Gay(notes), who scored 30 against the Lakers earlier this month. “We’re basketball players. If we weren’t professionals, there would probably be times we’d be in a pickup game at 11 o’clock at night.”