LOS ANGELES -- The third game of the Kobe Bryant "experiment" came and went with positive results for Bryant but mixed results for the Lakers as the Memphis Grizzlies came back beat the Lakers 109-106 on Friday.
Since Bryant missed three games last week to rest, he has been in triple-double territory in every game and the Lakers have had a chance to win every game but have gone 1-2 in their last three games.
Bryant had 15 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists on Friday but the Lakers were unable to hold on to a 12-point lead in the first half and an 8-point advantage in the second half as the Grizzlies came back to win their fifth straight game against the Lakers.
Player of the game: Lakers coach Byron Scott insists that this isn’t a new Bryant just a Bryant that takes what the defense gives him. Whatever it is, Bryant has been far more efficient and willing to let the game come to him and not force the issue since taking three games off. He played the role of facilitator when the team needed it and scorer when they needed that as well even though his potential game-tying shot at the end of the game missed the mark.
Masked man: After breaking his nose at the end of Tuesday’s game against Denver, Ed Davis returned sporting a protective clear mask. He said he would remove the mask if it gave him any issues but he kept it on for the duration of the game and finished with a season-high 20 points and 8 rebounds. He had seven points in the fourth quarter and was in position to tie the game after Bryant found him underneath the basket with 2.1 seconds left but he missed the second of two free throws.
Swaggy moment of the night: Nick Young changed up his hairdo on Friday, going with an afro, and petting it before the game as he walked around the locker room. Before the game started, Jordan Clarkson handed him an extra ticket to the game. Young responded by saying, “A single? What am I going to do with this?” He then ripped it and threw it back at Clarkson. “Bad rookie.” Clarkson said he would piece back together and use it. “He’s been a bad rookie lately,” Young joked.
Up next: The Lakers will stay home and play the Indiana Pacers on Sunday before heading to Portland on Monday for the second game of a back-to-back. After dealing with injuries and a depleted roster all season, the Lakers are finally able to suit up 12 healthy bodies, which will come in handy during the upcoming back-to-back.