MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The Memphis Grizzlies had to wait three long days before getting back on the court after a loss snapped their eight-game winning streak.
They made up for the wait by continuing the best start in franchise history.
Rudy Gay scored 21 points, and the Grizzlies beat the Los Angeles Lakers 106-98 on Friday night to improve to 9-2 and take back the NBA's best record.
"It was good to get the bad taste out of our mouth," Grizzlies center Marc Gasol said. "Definitely been three days without a game, that whole game kept growing on us, and we really wanted to come out and show our fans we want to play."
The Grizzlies bounced back after a 97-92 loss to Denver on Monday night. They took the lead over the Lakers in the first quarter and never let go. Zach Randolph had 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Gasol added 14 points and eight assists. Mike Conley scored 19 points, and Tony Allen finished with 12.
Memphis didn't practice the day before the loss to Denver after back-to-back games. Coach Lionel Hollins put his Grizzlies on the court Thursday morning even with the Thanksgiving holiday.
"This group when they take a day off, it is always pulling hair or pulling teeth," Hollins said. "We had to come in and practice and get some work in. We didn't work hard, but we got some work in. I just think that with this group you have to do that."
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. They still are trying to find their way with the coaching change while waiting for the return first of guard Steve Blake, then Steve Nash from injuries.
D'Antoni said Pau Gasol was off with his shot, which didn't help with the Grizzlies collapsing on Howard.
"Offense is all about rhythm," said D'Antoni who used a stool to talk to reporters before and after the game in the only nod to his recovery from knee replacement surgery. "We had some sometimes, but we have got to maintain the rhythm of the game and we are not there yet."
Kobe Bryant scored the final 14 points of the game for the Lakers and finished with 30. 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, including a 16-4 margin in the second half.
"We just focused on stopping them in the paint and stopping the lob, and we did a good job," Randolph said. "Everybody packed the paint in tonight. We got rebounds, we didn't let them get too many offensive rebounds. It was a good collective team win."
Pau Gasol, who missed five of his first six shots, did not play in the final period.
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