The Lakers, save a few minutes in the third quarter, gave a sluggish effort Sunday night, and paid for it. They lose their fourth home game of the season -- and second in a week (give or take) -- 102-96 to the Grizzlies.
Of course, the big story was Mike Brown's decision not to play Kobe Bryant for a key stretch in the fourth. Brown didn't provide much of an explanation to the media following the game, for the most part simply saying he felt like he wanted to make a substitution. Nor did Brown believe it was a decision he needed to justify to Kobe, personally. No surprise Bryant didn't enjoy being on the bench, but refused to question Brown's choice. As you'll see in the videos below, in terms of diffusing the issue, it's hard to picture Bryant coming up with a better response.
That fourth quarter sequence will be Monday's big storyline, but had little if anything to do with why they lost and was just one of the things we kicked around on tonight's edition of Lakers Late Night. Among the other big topics of conversation...
Another poor effort defensively, as Memphis shot 51.2 percent from the floor and still managed to get 14 offensive rebounds. That ain't good. Andrew Bynum said after he was a big part of the problem. No disagreement here -- he only had four rebounds and was awful on the pick and roll -- but he had company.
The bench, outscored 41-9 by their Memphis counterparts. To be sure, points aren't the best way to measure their performance, but unfortunately when judged by all the better ways, it still amounted to a very poor night. Steve Blake in particular had a very rough go.
In-show video from Brown, Bryant, and Pau Gasol. Click below for more from those three, plus Bynum and Ramon Sessions, who kicked in with a solid-but-quiet 18/5, dulled a little by three turnovers.
Brown, on his reasoning behind sitting Bryant. The first video shows his initial (and short) answer. He elaborates slightly in the second, noting with prompting the season long minutes issue with Kobe. In the third, I ask if his choice is something Brown feels he needs to explain to Bryant:
Kobe, on whether he questions Brown's choice:
Kobe, on why Memphis would make a dangerous playoff opponent:
Bynum, on the loss, defense, and more:
Sessions, on the loss Sunday:
Gasol on his offensive struggles against the Grizzlies:
Gasol, on the recent defensive slippage:
Metta World Peace on the loss to Memphis: