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Grizzlies 106, Lakers 93

The SportsXchange

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- In the wake of a three-player trade that supposedly depleted the Memphis Grizzlies' bench, a funny thing happened Wednesday night in FedExForum.

The old Grizzlies -- the ones who played with boundless energy and fire, the ones who acted like they owned the court in the first two months of the season, the ones who hadn't been seen for a while -- showed up with a vengeance in a 106-93 victory over the Lakers.

Coach Lionel Hollins, having to juggle his bench rotation because of the loss of prime reserves Marreese Speights and Wayne Ellington in the trade to the Cavs, got the performances he was seeking from players forced into new roles.

He asked for more offense from point guard Mike Conley, and Conley complied with 19 points and six assists. Forward Darrell Arthur, who replaced Speights, exploded for a season-high 20 points and nine rebounds as the Griz reached the midway point in the season at 27-14.

Jerryd Bayless, moving from his role as a backup point guard to backup shooting guard, had nine points on 4-of-7 shooting. Rookie point guard Tony Wroten, seeing the first extensive action of the season behind Conley, scored nine points and wowed the crowd with a stunning first-half dunk and a second-half rejection of a Kobe Bryant dunk that forced the future Hall of Famer to receive a technical foul.

"I think it was the best game we've played in a long time," Conley said. "Guys all took the challenge of us being down two or three players. We played like we were desperate, we played like we had nothing to lose. When we play that way, we're very good,"

While Bryant finished with a game-high 29 points on 11-of-23 shooting for the Lakers (17-25), he was largely ineffective in the last quarter and a half as Memphis rang up its highest point total since winning 113-81 at Sacramento on Jan. 7.

"They (the Grizzlies) were just quicker than we were at everything, rebounds and fast breaks," Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said. "They beat us to the ball. They beat us to second-chance points. They got so many more shots at the goal than we did."

Hollins was extremely pleased the way his team pulled together after some recent offensive struggles and Tuesday's trade.

"You never know how a team is going to react," Hollins said. "We're down a man and everybody has to go in and contribute. Everybody has to be committed and ready to do their job."

NOTES: Wednesday's game was the first for the Grizzlies since trading Marreese Speights, Wayne Ellington and Josh Selby, plus a protected 2015 draft pick, to Cleveland for forward Jon Leuer. ... Wayne Ellington, traded to the Cavs, was a team co-leader in three-point percentage at 42.3. Who gets his shots? "Jerryd Bayless," said Hollins, "and Mike Conley has to make sure he gets more shots." The prospect of Bayless lofting more threes is a bit scary, since he's only 31.3 percent from three-point range this season. ... With two future Hall of Famers in the starting lineup and one of the best defensive players in NBA history at center, the Lakers have the feel of an All-Star team, and that's a problem, D'Antoni said. "We've got an All-Star team out there," D'Antoni said. "Ever watch an All-Star game? It's awful, because everybody gets the ball, goes 1-on-1 and nobody plays defense. That's our team. That's us. We haven't learned there is a pecking order. There's the one guy, the two guy, the three guy, the four guy. It might not be the same guy every night, but he's got to accept being the fourth guy. If you've been the first guy all your life, that's hard to accept."
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