MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Kobe Bryant returned to the Lakers’ lineup and helped them pull out a victory tonight over the Memphis Grizzlies. He scored a team-leading 32 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer with 4.3 seconds remaining. He made 13 of 19 shots, including three of four from beyond the 3-point arc. He also had seven rebounds and six assists. O.J. Mayo missed what would have been the winning jump shot from about 20 feet at the buzzer. Bryant and Pau Gasol got caught on a switch, but Gasol stuck with Mayo as he dribbled into position to take the final shot. The Lakers trailed by as many as 11 points in the second half before rallying for their fifth victory in six games. They were 4-1 while Bryant was sidelined by a strained tendon in his left ankle.
“Nobody in the world is shocked anymore with what Kobe Bryant does,” Pau Gasol said. “He stepped up at the end of the game, in his first game back, and he really played excellent. It feels good to have him back and doing what he does.”
Said Bryant: “Every time, it just feels like the first time. I truly does. It’s a great feeling. It’s always brand new.”
Bryant played in his 1,000th NBA game.