Lakers' Week 8 in review

Lakers' Week 8 in review
Kobe Bryant drives against Tony Allen en route to a 21-point performance in the Lakers' 96-92 win over the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum last week. (Nikki Boertman / Commercial Appeal)

The Kobe Bryant comeback stalled with news Thursday that the Lakers' All-Star guard had a knee injury.

The Lakers managed to split their four games in Week 8, despite playing without their primary point guards.


The week started slowly with a poor second half in a 114-100 loss to the Hawks in Atlanta.

The Lakers responded the next night, winning in Memphis, 96-92, over the Grizzlies.


Bryant seemed to hyperextend his knee in the third quarter, but played minutes in the fourth quarter as the Lakers closed out the victory.  An MRI later revealed a fracture of the lateral tibial plateau that is expected to keep Bryant out for six weeks.

Xavier Henry was the Lakers' only real option at starting point guard.  Existing injuries to Steve Blake (elbow), Steve Nash (back) and Jordan Farmar, still out for another week with a hamstring tear, sent the team to the free-agent market to acquire a point guard.

The Lakers signed Kendall Marshall to a non-guaranteed contract Friday.

Coach Mike D'Antoni said he's confident that Bryant, when he returns, will be "hunting for some bear."  Bryant's teammates were shocked and sympathetic.


Before the injury, Bryant climbed to fifth all-time in minutes played, including regular and postseason minutes. LeBron James and various Lakers reacted on Twitter to Bryant's injury.

Former Lakers Hall of Famer Jerry West -- who had said before the knee injury that Bryant was "going to be fine" -- admitted afterward that he was concerned about the Lakers star. West also praised Coach Mike D'Antoni for his performance this season.

West turned up in a video showing that he can still shoot at the age of 75.

While Farmar is closer to a return, Steve Nash is still at least a month away with nerve issues in his back.

The Lakers need to improve defensively, giving up the second-most points per game in NBA.

While in Memphis, Pau Gasol connected with ailing kids at St Jude hospital.  Gasol admitted that the NBA can be a "tough business" for a nice guy.

The Lakers pulled out a 104-91 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night with a big finish from Gasol.

Chris Kaman, who had been out of the team's rotation for almost a month, gave a strong performance after finally getting minutes.


D'Antoni said the Kobe-less Lakers are "excited" about proving people wrong but Saturday proved to be a difficult night.

Gasol was unavailable (respiratory infection) for the Lakers' visit to the Golden State Warriors -- which turned into a 102-83 blowout in the second half.

While newcomer Marshall was available Friday, he didn't get a chance until Saturday.  His debut wasn't exactly impressive with multiple turnovers and no assists.

With Gasol missing his first game of the season, the Lakers fielded their 12th different starting lineup in 27 games.

Finally, Bryant, whose jersey sales climbed to second in the NBA, will lead a panel on kids and sports with former President Bill Clinton.

Twitter: @EricPincus.