A win despite 27 turnovers shows the cracks, but Los Angeles have five games coming up in the next eight days.
LA Lakers beat Grizzlies to grind out sixth win in a row at home
LOS ANGELES // Kobe Bryant says the Los Angeles Lakers' early-season schedule has been every bit as brutal as they expected, forcing them to learn coach Mike Brown's system on the job rather than in practice.
Although the Lakers do not have everything down after 10 games in 15 days, they are still winning anyway.
Bryant had 26 points and nine assists, Andrew Bynum had 15 points and 15 rebounds, and the Lakers beat the Memphis Grizzlies 90-82 for their sixth consecutive home victory.
Matt Barnes scored 15 points and Pau Gasol had 13 points and 15 rebounds for the Lakers, who have won six of eight after an 0-2 start while matching Oklahoma City for the NBA's busiest early-season schedule.
"It's tough. We've got to learn it through the games," Bryant said.
Although they have not lost at Staples Center since their season-opener on Christmas, the Lakers had little jump in their steps while committing a season-high 27 turnovers, and failing to pull away from the injury-depleted Grizzlies. Los Angeles will not even get consecutive days off for another week, with five games coming in the next eight days.
"This is tough. You'd rather not talk about it," Gasol said. "We're tired, and we're going to stay tired. That's just the way it's going to be. ... We knew it was going to be a challenge. We knew we were going to face adversity at first. We're all making an effort, and we know it's going to pay off at the end. ... Two days off? It'll be a shock to our bodies."
Rudy Gay scored 19 points to lead five players in double figures for Memphis, which wrapped up a three-game road trip with an unimpressive fourth quarter. The Grizzlies have lost two straight after winning their first two games following Zach Randolph's serious knee injury.
"When they have both (Gasol and Bynum) in the game, that's when they control the game," Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said.
Oklahoma City Thunder became the first NBA team to win three games on consecutive nights this season by beating the San Antonio Spurs 108-96.
Kevin Durant had 21 points and 10 rebounds. He needed only three more assists to record his first career triple-double but instead sat out the entire fourth quarter with the rest of Oklahoma City's starters. The Thunder were able to coast to the finish after outscoring the Spurs 37-21 in the third. Reserve James Harden scored 20 for the Thunder.
MINNESOTA 93, WASHINGTON 72
ORLANDO 104, SACRAMENTO 97
PHOENIX 109, MILWAUKEE 93
PORTLAND 98, CLEVELAND 78