MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP)—Things will occasionally get ugly for the Los Angeles Lakers as they go through the growing pains of adjusting to a revamped roster, as evidenced by Monday night’s loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.
Shane Battier’s four-point play with 1:58 left ended the Lakers’ last comeback attempt, helping the Grizzlies to a 105-95 victory over turnover-prone Los Angeles on Monday night.
The Lakers were uncommonly sloppy, committing turnovers on eight consecutive possessions early in the third quarter to let the game get away from them.
“I really don’t want to overstate these two losses, it’s not like it’s a dramatic point in the season,” Kobe Bryant said. “I think it’s a learning curve, the more we understand each other—our offense and the defensive tactics—the better off we’ll be. That’s going to take some time.
Bryant scored nine straight points as the Lakers pulled to 97-89, but Battier—who had just checked in after James Posey fouled out—hit a 3-pointer from the corner and was fouled by Bryant.
“Kobe was right in my face,” Battier said. “I can’t tell you it was a skillful shot because it was more luck than anything.”
The four-point play all but ended the game, and the Grizzlies left the floor to a standing ovation.
Memphis handed the Lakers their second straight loss, defeating them for just the third time in 32 tries in franchise history.
“This is a good win, an uplifting win for us,” coach Hubie Brown said. “Tonight was the first night we put everything together as a team.”
Bryant and Karl Malone each had six of the Lakers’ 23 turnovers.
Bryant scored 19 and Shaquille O’Neal had 20 points and 12 rebounds on the final stop of a four-game road trip that ended with losses to the Hornets and Grizzlies.
After starting 5-0, Los Angeles has dropped to 5-2.
“I told them it was a so-so road trip,” coach Phil Jackson said. “The formula in the NBA is to win three out of four at home and 50 percent on the road, but that’s not good enough for this ballclub, not good enough for us.”
Memphis started pulling ahead late in the second quarter as the Lakers committed four turnovers in a 4:40 span, allowing the Grizzlies to take a 55-44 lead on a layup by Gasol.
The sloppiness got even worse in the third quarter, with Bryant committing three of the Lakers’ eight straight turnovers. Posey turned the last of them into a three-point play on the fast break for a 76-58 lead.
“They didn’t turn the ball over by themselves, you know,” Gasol said.
Los Angeles went with its reserves for most of the rest of the quarter, and Luke Walton’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer cut the deficit to 85-69 entering the fourth.
Memphis went scoreless for a five-minute stretch early in the final quarter,but the closest the Lakers could get was 91-84 with 5:31 left.
Lakers G Gary Payton rolled his left ankle at practice Sunday but was able to play. … Derek Fisher had a stitch in his lower lip after catching an elbow to the mouth from Bryant. … Battier returned after missing one game with a sprained right knee. … Lakers F Slava Medvedenko could returnWednesday or Friday from a bruised left heel.