The Lakers fell to the Memphis Grizzlies, 106-93, losing their fourth consecutive game and seventh in a row on the road.
Dwight Howard didn't play in the second half afer re-injuring his shoulder. The Lakers gave the game away in the second quarter, when Memphis scored 35 points to build a nine-point halftime lead. The Grizzlies were in control throughout the second half and the Lakers never really threatened in the fourth quarter.
Kobe Bryant led all scorers with 29 points on 11-of-23 shooting. Three other Lakers notched double-figures with Metta World Peace (15), Pau Gasol (13) and Earl Clark (11) providing some general offensive support.
As is almost always the case, the problem for the Lakers was on the defensive side of the ball. The Grizzlies shot 49% from the field while owning the offensive glass, 16-7. Memphis grabbed 52 rebounds in total to the Lakers' 34.
Reserve big man Darrell Arthur led Memphis with 20 points. Mike Conley added 19 and four other Grizzlies hit double figures: Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph and Tony Allen each had 12 and Jerryd Bayless added 10.
The Lakers actually did a strong job on the tandem of Marc Gasol (eight points) and Randolph, but the Grizzlies bench was just faster, more athletic and aggressive.
With the loss, the Lakers' record dips to 17-25. The Grizzlies climb to 27-14, 10 1/2 games ahead of the Lakers in the Western Conference.
The Lakers are four games behind the eighth-place Houston Rockets.
Howard's shoulder will be re-evaluated on Thursday.
Grizzlies 83, Lakers 73 (end of third quarter)
After giving up 35 points in the second quarter, the Lakers gave an improved effort on defense in the third quarter Wednesday night in Memphis. Kobe Bryant leads all scorers with 27 points heading into the fourth quarter, but the Lakers couldn't get enough stops to chip into the Memphis' lead.
In fact, the Grizzlies added to their advantage, going into the fourth up 10 points while shooting 49.3% from the field. Mike Conley leads the Grizzlies with 19 points. Rudy Gay and reserve big man Darrell Arthur chipped in 12 apiece.
The Lakers made 46.3% of their shots from the field. Other than Bryant, Metta World Peace was the only other Laker in double figures.
Pau Gasol started the third at center with Dwight Howard out with a shoulder injury.
Grizzlies 59, Lakers 50 (halftime)
Dwight Howard appeared to aggravate his shoulder injury, heading to the locker room with 2:21 left in the first half against the Grizzlies.
Howard recently sat out with shoulder problems (torn labrum). It remains to be seen if he'll return for the second half.
Memphis went on a quick run in the second quarter to push their lead to 15 points. The Lakers battled back to close the deficit to six points but struggled with turnovers and the speed of the Grizzlies.
After a slow start to the game, Memphis shot 50% from the field through two quarters. Mike Conley hit seven of 10 shots for 15 points. Rudy Gay put added 12 points but it seemed like reserve Tony Wroten was the catalyst for the Grizzlies' run. Wroten finished with nine points on four-of-eight shooting.
The Lakers made 51.5% of their shots from the field, 50% from three-point range (four of eight) and got to the line 17 times, making 12. With numbers like that, it's hard to imagine the Lakers going to the break with a nine-point deficit. The Lakers turned the ball over 10 times. The Grizzlies had a seven-rebound advantage (22-15).
Kobe Bryant had 16 points on seven-of-nine shooting. Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace both chipped in nine.
Grizzlies 24, Lakers 23 (end of first quarter)
If the Lakers were concerned about playing against Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, neither of the Memphis Grizzlies' big men made a major impact in the first quarter Wednesday night. In fact both were forced to sit with two fouls about halfway through the quarter with a combined two points.
Instead it was the Memphis bench that gave the Lakers problems with center Darrell Arthur scoring six points in as many minutes and Jerryd Bayless adding five in only three minutes. Rudy Gay led the Grizzlies with seven points as his team hit just 39.1% of its shots from the field with five turnovers.
The Lakers played relatively well defensively to start the game but struggled against the faster Memphis bench. Kobe Bryant scored 12 points on five-of-six shooting as the Lakers made 47.1% of their attempts from the field.
Dwight Howard had only one point in almost eight minutes of play. The Lakers led by as many as six before giving up the lead.
The Lakers (17-24) visit the Memphis Grizzlies (26-14) on Wednesday night, looking to break a six-game road losing streak.
The Grizzlies have one of the best starting lineups in the league. They don't have tremendous depth, making a trade Tuesday that sent away three role players for Jon Leuer. It's unclear if Leuer will be cleared to play in time against the Lakers.
Memphis is a strong defensive squad. The inside tandem of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph can rival the Lakers' Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol.
The Lakers badly need a win but haven't inspired much confidence with their recent play, mostly falling apart defensively near the end of games.
For a more in-depth breakdown, check out Preview: Lakers at Grizzlies.
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Email Eric Pincus at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.