Jason Williams scored 10 of his 26 points over an 80-second span of the fourth quarter to give the Memphis Grizzlies a lead they never lost as they stunned the Los Angeles Lakers 114-108 Friday night.
It was only the Grizzlies' second victory over the two-time defending NBA champions, their first since Feb. 23, 1999 in Vancouver.
"They certainly wanted that game more than we did and played like it," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "They did a great job of hustling down loose balls and getting the extra things that make this game easier to play. We played an OK game, but they just kept coming after us."
Memphis coach Sidney Lowe agreed that his young Grizzlies played
"We made the extra pass. We didn't turn it over. We had four turnovers tonight. That's unbelievable. That's incredible," Lowe said.
"It's a big win. Make no mistake about it."
Williams got going with a 3-pointer from the top of the key with
4:11 to go. He added another 3, hit a pair of free throws that gave
Memphis the lead to stay at 104-103 and then stole the ball at
midcourt and scored on a layup to make it 106-103.
"I just felt like I was open. They were leaving me open," Williams said.
With the fans in The Pyramid on their feet, the Grizzlies hit all eight of their free throws in the final 1:07 to seal their biggest victory since moving to Memphis.
Kobe Bryant led Los Angeles with 36 points, but he made only one 3-pointer after leaving the court with a strained rib at the end of the third quarter.
The Lakers came in with a three-game winning streak, including a victory at Houston on Thursday night. O'Neal said they underestimated the Grizzlies, who also played Thursday night and defeated the Knicks in New York.
"Teams when they play us, especially at home, they're going to be pumped up and playing way above their heads," O'Neal said. "They played way above their heads tonight."
The Lakers beat Memphis by 24 in their first meeting last month
in Los Angeles, but they looked tired.
It looked like Bryant would jump start the Lakers in the third
after the Grizzlies took their biggest lead, 76-68 on Shane
Battier's layup. Bryant scored the next 12 points for Los Angeles
as he went 6-of-8 in the quarter. But he left the game less than a
minute later, grabbing at his right side.
Bryant said he had a nice rhythm going and thought the Lakers were ready to take control. O'Neal had nine points in the fourth and only two of those in the final seven minutes as he missed two free throws with 1:55 to go and Los Angeles trailing 106-103. He also had nine rebounds.
"Shaq should've picked up right behind (Kobe)," Jackson said. "That was the natural game. This is a team that doesn't have a big middle. We didn't get anything accomplished much in the middle."
Brevin Knight added a season-high 20 points in 17 minutes for
Memphis as the Grizzlies had six players in double digits. Shane
Battier added 19, Stromile Swift had 13 and Grant Long and Pau
Gasol each had 12.
The Lakers' previous high allowed was 104 in a loss to
Seattle on Dec. 14. Knight was 9-of-10 from the floor. ... Swift
missed his first four free throws but hit four straight at the end.
... Battier played 47 minutes Thursday night in New York and 41
against the Lakers. ... The Grizzlies turned the ball over a
franchise record four times. The previous mark had been six in 1997
against San Antonio, and it also marked a record for a Lakers'
opponent. Five different opponents had a previous low of five
turnovers, the last being Portland on April 15, 2001. ... Los
Angeles now is 2-2 in the second of a back-to-back set of games.