Below are five things to take from Lakers’ 89-86 loss Friday over the Memphis Grizzlies at Staples Center:
1. Steve Blake’s potential game-tying three pointer went short. In a play that eerily resembled his game-winner last week against Houston, Blake found an open look on the far end of the court behind the perimeter. But his shot hit the front of the rim. That shot shouldn’t overshadow Blakes’ overall grittiness the entire game. He tallied 10 assists by perfectly finding teammates moving off the ball. Blake continuously hustled back on defense to stop Memphis in transition. But when it came to hitting a shot that could’ve put the Lakers over the top, Blake didn’t deliver. Still, it would’ve been nice for the Lakers had they shown more effort crashing the glass.
2. The Lakers couldn’t control Memphis frontline. No matter how much aggressive defense Jordan Hill showed, he still allowed Zach Randolph to explode for 28 points on 11 of 18 shooting. Credit Randolph’s mid-range shooting and crazy flip shot that gave the Grizzlies a 87-84 lead with 16.4 seconds left. But Hill’s teammates often failed to help him out. No matter how much Pau Gasol showed in trying to top his brother, Marc still posted 18 points, 8 rebounds, eight assists, three blocks and three steals. Marc did that by bullying his way to the basket and scrapping for everything, something the Lakers failed to do on a consistent basis.
3. Jodie Meeks has proven he’s no longer feast or famine. Instead, Meeks’ team-leading 22 points on 9 of 15 shooting and 4 of 8 from three-point has represented a steady diet of consistency. In five of the past six games, Meeks has offered double-digit efforts while shooting at least 40 percent from the field. Last year, a blowout game coincided with a stretch of poor shooting nights. This year, Meeks’ three points on 1 of 5 shooting Wednesday against Denver marked the lone time he’s shot below 40 percent. Still, Meeks can correct some things. He committed a costly turnover in the last two minutes that allowed Memphis a four-point lead.
4. Nick Young carried the bench. The Lakers’ reserve forward has joked he’s gunning for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award. But he sure looked like on with his 16-point effort on 7 of 14 shooting. His 12 second-quarter points helped the Lakers overcome a 10-point deficit. Young also almost helped the Lakers overcome Blake’s three-point miss. Young drew a foul on a missed three-pointer, canned the first two free throws and intentionally missed the last one. But the strategy backfired as Memphis grabbed the rebound and ran out the clock.
5. The Lakers started a new streak. They reported a sell out (18,997) after failing to do so in the Lakers’ win Tuesday over New Orleans, a game that snapped the team’s 270-game sellout streak in the regular season. When accounting for playoff games, the Lakers’ streak extended to 320 consecutive contests.
Follow L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina on Twitter. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org