From Kevin Ding, OC Register: At Phil Jackson’s behest, Pau Gasol waded back into a pool that was far more likely to bring another “Wave” from Lakers fans in Staples Center’s upper deck (and did) than a Memphis Grizzlies comeback from 19 points down with 5:24 to play. Jackson later explained he just didn’t like the slippage he was seeing from the Lakers’ reserves – so here was Gasol to go a few more laps. More than anything, though, Jackson wanted to make a point to his team that it had not kept pushing forward Tuesday night, even though the job was absolutely getting done. In their fourth game this season, the Lakers led by 29 points and never trailed against Memphis. The game before that, the Lakers led by 32 and never trailed against Golden State.
From Kevin Ding, OC Register: Kobe Bryant offered his clearest reminder yet this season of his ongoing dominance. He played so well that he came up one minute short of the Lakers’ all-time lead for minutes played, getting to sit out the final 15 minutes of the Lakers’ 124-105 rout of the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night. Bryant has been trying to sell the statement that his surgically repaired right knee is 100 percent healthy now and he looked pretty good with all 23 points in the first half, when the Lakers took command for the second consecutive game. Bryant could then relax down the stretch and wait until tonight to eclipse Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record of 37,492 minutes.
From Mark Medina, LA Times: Kobe Bryant makes O.J. Mayo look ridiculous: Bryant’s knee obviously continues to get better, and there was no better way to take another step than go through what amounted to a practice-shooting session. Mayo appeared incredibly intimidated on defense, and Bryant took full advantage by scoring 21 points on seven-of-13 shooting. He showed effective elevation when he pulled back for jumpers. He showed his quickness when on an isolation play, resulting in an open shot. And he punished the Memphis zone defense with a pair of consecutive three-pointers. A little head-scratching that Tony Allen wasn’t assigned to Bryant, considering his success against him with Boston in the 2010 NBA Finals. But Bryant took full advantage.
From Dexter Fishmore, Silver Screen and Roll: Remember when the Lakers used to struggle against the NBA’s lesser teams? A couple seasons ago, lottery-dwellers like the Memphis Grizzlies would come to town and the Lakers would spend a good part of the night sleepwalking. Maybe they’d pull it out late – sometimes they wouldn’t – but either way, they didn’t always take a businesslike approach to their less-than-marquee opponents. Those days appear to be over. After hammering the Golden State Warriors on Sunday in a game that saw them race out to a 20-point first quarter lead, the Lakers again tonight came out in high-level beast mode. They hung 73 first-half points on the Grizzlies en route to a 124 to 105 rout. Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom maintained their All-Star forms, and the Laker bench again demonstrated how it’s transformed from a major weakness into a decisive strength. The victory pushes the Lake Show’s record to a perfect 4-0 as they head to Sacramento to complete their first back-to-back of the season tomorrow.
From Dave McMenamin, Land O’ Lakers: Shannon Brown’s shot is back on track. After scoring 16 points and shooting 4-for-5 on 3-pointers on opening night against Houston, the backup shooting guard went 0-for-3 from 3 and scored 13 points total in the Lakers next two games against Phoenix and Golden State. He went 5-for-7 from the floor (3-for-3 from deep) and scored 13 points against the Grizz. “I can [feel my shot locked in], but I have to realize that every game is not going to be the same,” Brown said. “I don’t think I played that well the last two games so I sat back, evaluated it and found out what was going on … I think a forced a couple shots that were bad looks.” It’s worth noting that Brown’s shot hasn’t just improved this season in terms of percentage, but his makes have been pure swishes for the most part. “It’s just repetition and rhythm,” Brown said. “I tweaked [my shot] just a little bit, but not much.”
From Andy Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: here are two ways an athlete can get in good with the media. First, you can suck up, whether that means being exceptionally cooperative, providing endless copy, maybe a little off-the-record insight, etc. Or, if you’re not a brown-nosing, apple-on-the-teacher’s-desk kinda dude, you can make a scribe look like a prophetic genius. Barnes did just that for my brother, who penned a post earlier today praising Barnes’ ability to flourish through hustle. As mentioned earlier, Barnes spent much of the game struggling to unite leather and cord. Even more frustrating, a lot of these misses came at point blank range, where the Cali native just couldn’t quite get the right English on those taps. But whatever frustration felt didn’t result in quitting on plays. Instead, he just kept cleaning the offensive glass, collecting six alone in under nine minutes of first half run. Four of those taps eventually became a Laker basket, proof positive of what’s possible whenever effort is part of the equation. And that sixth offensive rebound, a forceful throw down of a missed layup by Brown, certainly treated him nicely. He reacted with such enthusiasm I thought a tech might be coming, but you can hardly blame a guy for getting emotional after coming so close yet so far on so many occasions.
From Mike Bresnahan, LA Times: Team USA got a fairly good player to commit to the cause in 2012. Guy by the name of Kobe Bryant. The Lakers’ shooting guard green-lighted another run at the Olympics, committing to it Tuesday on Mike Krzyzewski’s Sirius XM radio show. Krzyzewski coaches Team USA and Duke. “You guys want me there, I am there and I’m ready to defend,” Bryant said. “And then when you guys need me to put some points on the board I’ll do that too.” Bryant was a key player on the gold-medal effort by Team USA at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, averaging 15 points a game. He did not take part in off-season activities for the team in 2009 or this past off-season.
UDPATE: Yesterday on ESPN’s news magazine show E:60, a feature ran on Pau Gasol that covered his time back in Spain when the Lakers traveled to Europe during the preseason. It’s a great piece and worth your time: