The Memphis Grizzlies overcame a record-breaking performance by Kobe Bryant to beat the Los Angeles Lakers 95-93. With a 44-point haul, Bryant surpassed Jerry West to become the Lakers' all-time leading scorer, but Rudy Gay spoiled the occasion with a crucial three-pointer with 29 seconds left. Gay scored 25 points while the newly named All-Star Zach Randolph had 22 and 17 rebounds to help Memphis (26-21) win for the first time in three games and avenge a November 6 defeat to the Lakers.
"These young guys stepped up and played great," Randolph said. "Rudy hit big shots. OJ Mayo played good. It was just a good all-around game for the whole team." After Gay's three-pointer put the Grizzlies up 95-90, Bryant made a triple of his own, and the defending champions had one final possession that saw Ron Artest miss a three-pointer as time expired. Bryant was aggressive all evening for the Lakers, as he entered the game needing 29 points to overtake West, who was the team's general manager when Bryant was drafted.
The four-time NBA champion achieved the record on a third period dunk and finished the game with a career total of 25,208 points. "It's a great honour. With all the great players who have played here and the rich tradition we have it's a great accomplishment," Bryant said. "[West] taught me so much when I was 17 and showed me a lot about the game. "Even though I'm passing him in the record books it feels like it's still both of us."
The Los Angeles coach, Phil Jackson, missed the chance to make it a landmark double. The defeat meant he remains tied with Pat Riley with 533 victories as the Lakers' coach. In other NBA news, the New Orleans Hornets' All-Star Chris Paul is set to have an operation on his left knee. The 24-year-old guard picked up the injury against Golden State last week and is expected to be out for at least a month.
* With agencies