Randolph leads late Grizzlies charge past Lakers

Forrest Lee, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- Memphis forward Zach Randolph used a simple approach in the fourth quarter Friday night against the Los Angeles Lakers.
"I was just trying to let (the game) come to me," Randolph said. "Trying to be aggressive and be myself. I was trying to pick and choose my spots. Trying to hit over a 7-footer and a great defender like Pau (Gasol) you have to pick and choose your spots. I just play with the flow."
Randolph scored 14 of his 28 points in the fourth as the Grizzlies earned an 89-86 victory over the Lakers before a sellout crowd of 18,997 at Staples Center.
"It felt good, especially since we got our first road win," said Randolph, who hit six of seven shots in the fourth and made 11 of 18 overall from the floor. "It's a good win. We'll build from here."
Forward Marc Gasol finished with 18 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and three blocks as Memphis (4-5) handed the Lakers (4-7) their fourth setback in five games.
Guard Tony Allen added 12 points and point guard Mike Conley scored 11.
"Everybody came here with their antennas up," said Allen, adding that the Grizzlies, who dropped three of their past four before beating the Lakers, held a team meeting after their morning shoot-around Friday. "I know everyone knows, we go as (Zach) goes. He's our horse. Him and Marc and Mike lead the way, but we go as those guys go. We need to continue that."
Guard Jodie Meeks, who led the Lakers with 25 points, hit a 3-pointer with 90 seconds left in the game to pull Los Angeles to within 85-84, but guard Steve Blake missed a jumper that would have given it a lead with about 40 seconds remaining.
Randolph, who also grabbed 11 rebounds, answered with a runner in the lane, giving the Grizzlies an 87-84 lead with 16.4 seconds left, which turned out to be the difference.
"He's a load," Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said.
Reserve guard Nick Young had 18 points for the Lakers, while Gasol scored 10 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, but suffered through another tough shooting outing, missing eight of his 12 attempts. Jordan Hill had 12 points and three blocks.
"I thought we played as hard as we can play," D'Antoni said. "I thought the defense was good. I thought guys hustled. We just didn't make plays to win the game. Just little things that separate the two teams.
"And Zach went off."
The Grizzlies led by as much as 10 in the second quarter, but the Lakers rallied as Memphis struggled offensively in the final four minutes of the half. Memphis held a 40-34 lead after Randolph hit a jump hook with 3:49 left, but failed to score again.
Young scored six of his 12 first-half points late in the quarter, including a pull-up jumper with 5.9 seconds remaining, tying the score at 40 at the half.
Meeks, who had 12 points in the third, gave Los Angeles a 62-61 lead on a 3-pointer late in the quarter. Forward Chris Kaman added a bucket and a dunk for a 66-61 advantage before Marc Gasol hit two free throws, cutting the deficit to 66-63 heading into the fourth.
But that's when Randolph took over.
"What a tremendous effort that was," Memphis coach Dave Joerger said. "He's huge. When he's aggressive, he puts pressure on the rim for us. He becomes that guy for us that you have to do something about him when he plays like that. For him to be aggressive is my hope for us offensively."
NOTES: SG Kobe Bryant's return isn't expected before the end of November, Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said Friday. Then D'Antoni hedged his bet. "No I do not anticipate it, but I don't anticipate anything. I don't know. We'll see," D'Antoni said. Bryant participated in shooting drills during Friday morning's practice. Bryant was in the Lakers' locker room before the game but didn't speak with the media. ... Bryant got a rousing ovation from the crowd at the end of the first quarter when he appeared to present a check for $150,000 from the Lakers to the Philippines Red Cross to assist in relief efforts for victims of the recent typhoon. ... Grizzlies reserve G-F Quincy Pondexter returned after missing a game with a broken nose. Pondexter wore a black protective mask. After a reporter teased him about the unique look, Pondexter joked "I was looking for something closer to the color of my skin." ... The two teams combined for only 20 turnovers, with the Lakers committing 11 of them. ... Memphis outrebounded the Lakers 51-40.

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