Friday , Mar , 23 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Kobe hits for 60 as Lakers edge Memphis

Memphis, TN (Sports Network) – Kobe Bryant poured in 60 points, becoming just
the fourth player in NBA history to register three straight games of at least
50 points, as the Los Angeles Lakers downed the Memphis Grizzlies, 121-119, at
FedExForum.

Bryant joins Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan as the only
players to score 50 points or more in three straight contests. Bryant had 65
last Friday against Portland and then posted 50 versus Minnesota on Sunday.

Bryant went 20-of-37 from the field and missed one of his 18 free throws.

“He’s in a league all to himself, said Lakers coach Phil Jackson. “At one
point in the ball game, we got the offensive rebound and had a whole new 24-
second left. Lamar (Odom) gave the ball right back to him, and Kobe went right
back at them. He just smells blood in the water, and he’s going to go after
you. What you admire in Kobe is that he’s going to attack and be in that mode.
He’ll continue to go at it until you take him out of the ball game or else you
stop him.”

Lamar Odom added 20 points and 15 rebounds for the Lakers, who have won three
straight since their seven-game losing streak. Luke Walton donated 11 points
for Los Angeles, which moved a game ahead of Denver for the sixth spot in the
Western Conference playoff race. The Nuggets lost, 109-108, at Chicago on
Thursday.

Pau Gasol scored 35 points and grabbed 15 boards for the Grizzlies, who have
dropped four of their last five and 13 of their last 16 games. Mike Miller
added 33 points and seven assists for the Grizzlies (17-52), who hold the
NBA’s worst record.

A Bryant alley-oop dunk sparked a 9-2 Lakers run to open the fourth quarter
and Los Angeles opened a 101-93 cushion.

The Grizzlies crawled back in to the game with a 6-0 surge, capped by a
Dahntay Jones layup, which pulled Memphis to within two, 111-109 with 4:29 to
go.

The Lakers responded with a Shammond Williams three, and after a Ronny Turiaf
steal, Bryant drilled a short jumper to push the lead to 116-109 with 3:43
remaining.

The Grizzlies never threatened thereafter. A Gasol layup at the buzzer
accounted for the final margin.

“He can score inside, he can score outside, and he can score at the foul line,
said Memphis coach Tony Barone. “So you’ve got a problem guarding him. If he
can only score inside or only shooting jump shots, then he’s easy to guard. He
just goes and plays. I hope our young guys were watching because he really put
on a clinic.”

Leading 13-11, Bryant sparked a 6-0 spurt with a reverse dunk and the
Lakers led 19-11 with a little over five minutes left in the first frame.

Los Angeles extended its lead to as much as 11 late in the frame, but a Junior
Harrington running jumper at the buzzer cut the lead to 34-25 after one
period.

Memphis gradually cut into the lead throughout the second quarter and drew
even at 53-53 on two Hakim Warrick free throws with 58 ticks until the half.

The Lakers, however, outscored the Grizzlies 7-1 the rest of the quarter and
led 60-54 at the intermission. Bryant had 24 points at halftime.

Trailing 64-58, Memphis went on a 9-2 run, capped by a Chucky Atkins three,
which gave the Grizzlies a 67-66 lead with a little under seven minutes to go
in the third stanza.

A Bryant fadeaway with five seconds remaining in the period gave Los Angeles
a 92-91 edge heading into the final quarter.

Game Notes

Bryant is the first Laker with three consecutive 50-point games since Hall of
Famer Baylor in December 1962…Memphis shot 55 percent, Los Angeles
53.2…Memphis outrebounded the Lakers 41-34…The win was just the Lakers’
second in their last eight games in Memphis.

LAL MEM