A stop in Memphis might not provide the Los Angeles Lakers with the best opportunity to win back-to-back road games for only the second time this season.
The Lakers will look for a third straight victory overall Tuesday night, but to do it they’ll need to snap the Grizzlies’ season-high six-game home winning streak.
Los Angeles (25-16) pulled out a 97-94 home win over Boston on Sunday, two days after snapping a three-game road skid with a 105-102 victory at Minnesota. Beating the Timberwolves merely improved the Lakers to 7-14 on the road, where they last won consecutive games Jan. 29 and Feb. 3.
After scoring 34 at Minnesota, Kobe Bryant posted 10 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter Sunday and hit the go-ahead jumper with 41.7 seconds to play. Andrew Bynum had 20 points and 14 rebounds, securing the win with a hook shot over Kevin Garnett in the final seconds.
It was Bryant’s decision during a timeout to get the ball to Bynum for the decisive basket.
“I just think that Kobe has always continued in that evolution in terms of doing different things to try to get us to the top and trying to get us to a championship level team,” guard Derek Fisher told the Lakers’ official website. “I believe we have always been pretty dangerous down the stretch because it’s difficult to decide what to do. It’s tough for teams to make a choice.”
Giving the ball to Bynum has been the right choice lately. He’s averaging 23.8 points on 68.4 percent shooting in his last four games.
“He’s a player you have to focus on,” Bryant said.
Though the Grizzlies have held Bynum to averages of 8.5 points and 5.9 boards in 17 career meetings, he had 15 points and 15 rebounds in Los Angeles’ 90-82 home win over Memphis on Jan. 8.
Bryant, who scored 26 in that contest, had a modest 19 points in a 93-84 win at Memphis on Feb. 7, 2011. It was the only time in his last 10 games at the FedEx Forum that he failed to score at least 25.
Gasol, who could be dealt before Thursday’s trade deadline, had 13 points and 15 boards against the Grizzlies earlier this season. The Lakers held his brother Marc to two points and 0-of-9 shooting in that meeting, though he did have 11 rebounds and seven assists.
Memphis (24-16) is trying to win seven straight at home for the first time since an 11-game run Dec. 18, 2009-Jan. 25, 2010.
The Grizzlies return home after concluding a 2-1 trip with a 94-91 win at Denver on Sunday. O.J. Mayo had 22 points off the bench, including a key 3-pointer in the final seconds, to help Memphis overcome 21 turnovers to win for the 12th time in 15 games.
Memphis came out ahead despite a total of just 45 points from its starters.
“We have a team full of hard workers,” Mayo told the Grizzlies’ official website. “It’s all about opportunities and rhythm, timing and everything.”
Rudy Gay (18.8 points per game) was held to seven points while shooting 3 of 13 on Sunday, but scored 19 of the Grizzlies starters’ 36 total points at Los Angeles in January.
The Lakers have won the last three overall meetings in this series and seven of their last 10 visits to Memphis.