By Teresa M. Walker/The Associated Press
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Rudy Gay scored 21 points, and the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Los Angeles Lakers 106-98 on Friday night to take back the NBA’s best record for themselves once again.
The Grizzlies improved to 9-2 by taking the lead over the Lakers in the first quarter and never letting go. Zach Randolph had 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Marc Gasol added 14 points and eight assists. Mike Conley scored 19 and Tony Allen finished with 12.
The Lakers, playing their third road game in four nights, now have lost all four road games this season and their second straight with new coach Mike D’Antoni on the bench. Kobe Bryant scored 14 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter. Metta World Peace and Antawn Jamison each had 16.
Randolph and Marc Gasol outscored Howard and Pau Gasol while helping Memphis outrebound the Lakers 39-28, including 13 offensive boards. That led to a 40-24 scoring edge in the paint as well. Pau, who missed five of his first six shots, did not play in the final period.
Memphis bounced back after a 97-92 loss to Denver on Monday night snapped its eight-game winning streak. This win also came with one of the Grizzlies’ new co-owners sitting at mid-court.
Musician and actor Justin Timberlake joined the Grizzlies at their shootaround, then spent the first half of the game at mid-court with his wife, actress Jessica Biel. Wearing a blue and white Memphis hat, Timberlake stood up after the first quarter and danced along with the Grizzlies’ Grannies and Grandpas, though he stayed at his seat.
The Grizzlies outscored the Lakers 34-18 in the first quarter and 26-21 in the third while leading by as much as 16.
Jamison threw up a shot that beat the buzzer at the end of the third quarter, then hit a 3 to open the fourth. With the Grizzlies doubling down to defend Howard in the paint, that left his teammates open. Jodie Meeks hit back-to-back 3s, then Howard had the assist when he found Chris Duhon for another 3.
Bryant hit a 3 with 5:26 left to get the Lakers within five. Memphis then brought Allen back in to defend Bryant, and Randolph hit a free throw to help Memphis finish off the win.
The Lakers’ reserves helped start the second quarter with a 15-2 run to close to 36-33 on Howard’s dunk with 7:05 left.
NOTES: Grizzlies F Darrell Arthur made his debut with 25.6 seconds left in the first half. Arthur missed last season after tearing an Achilles tendon, and he broke a bone in his leg in September. He wound up playing almost eight minutes and hit his only shot. … The Lakers went 20 of 24 at the free throw line, with Bryant hitting 13 of 14 after struggling at the line in a 113-97 loss at Sacramento on Wednesday night. … The Lakers had won seven of their last 10 trips to Memphis.