Bryant gets Lakers scoring mark, but Grizzlies spoil party with 95-93 win

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Kobe Bryant had a milestone night for the Los Angeles Lakers, but the Memphis Grizzlies got the victory.
Bryant scored 44 points, passing Jerry West as the Lakers' all-time career scorer, but it wasn't enough as the Grizzlies got 22 points and 17 rebounds from Zach Randolph to defeat the Lakers 95-93 on Monday night.
"It's a great honour to say the least (because) of the great players that have played here and the tradition we have," Bryant said of becoming the Lakers' career leading scorer. "(West) taught me so much when I was 17 years old. He showed me a lot about the game, the jump shot and spin moves and all the others.
"Even though it's me passing him in the record books, it's still us, and it's still Magic and all the other great players."
While the focus was on Bryant and the Lakers' record, Memphis held on for the victory. Rudy Gay led the Grizzlies with 25 points, and his three-pointer with 29.5 seconds left helped Memphis end its two-game losing streak.
"I was open and Marc (Gasol) gave me a good pass, and I made the shot," said Gay, who was 10-of-19 from the field. "You know I've never been reluctant to shoot at the end of the game."
The basket was just enough for Memphis to escape with the win after holding 11-point leads in both halves. Ron Artest's three-point attempt from the right side bounced high off the rim as the horn sounded, snapping the Lakers' four-game winning streak.
"I thought it was good," Artest said of the last shot, adding: "Obviously, if there was more time, you would head-fake and do something else. I thought it was about to drop in too. I thought it had a chance."
Elsewhere in the NBA it was: Phoenix 109 New Orleans 100; Milwaukee 97 Miami 81; Boston 99 Washington 88; Utah 104 Dallas 92; Denver 112 Sacramento 109 (OT); and Portland 98 Charlotte 79.
At Memphis, Tenn., Bryant actually had the ball for the last possession, and as he has done many times before, seemed set to carry the Lakers to victory. But Bryant had to give up the ball as the clock wound down and Memphis defenders surrounded him.
"They had like three guys (on me)," Bryant said. "Ron was wide open in the corner. I'll take that look any time. It just went a little long."
Bryant passed West's mark on a breakaway dunk in the third quarter. Bryant made 16-of-28 shots, including 4-of-7 outside the arc. Artest added 18 points, while Pau Gasol had 10 points.
Lester Hudson had 13 points for Memphis, and Marc Gasol finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds for Memphis.
While Bryant got the franchise record for scoring, the loss prevented Lakers coach Phil Jackson from passing Pat Riley as the winningest coach in regular-season games for Los Angeles. The two are tied at 533.
The game was tied at 88, when Memphis ran the shot clock to near the end before Randolph made a 22-footer for a 90-88 lead with 1:08 left. His two free throws extended the lead to 92-88. Bryant scored on a drive before Gay's three-pointer gave Memphis a 95-90 lead, and the Grizzlies held on.
"It feels like a playoff game every night to us because they're so important," Memphis guard Mike Conley said. "Everybody's so close in the West, so we have to treat every game the same and come out with the same mentality."
Memphis got an unexpected offensive boost from Hudson, the rookie shooting guard who was picked up Jan. 8 off waivers from the Celtics. Hudson had played in only four of the 12 games since joining the team, managing a total of nine points.
Hudson had 11 points - his career high - in the second quarter as Memphis extended the lead to 11 before carrying a 52-50 lead into the half as the Lakers outscored Memphis 11-2 to close the half.
Meanwhile, Bryant had 23 points at the half, moving him close to West's mark.
"At halftime, I told the guys that he (Bryant) was forcing the action, and let's get him over the hump and start playing team basketball," Jackson said. "It didn't seem like we ever did."
In the end, Memphis, which had defeated division leaders including Cleveland, Orlando, Denver and Dallas, added the Lakers to the list as the Grizzlies have gone 25-13 after a 1-8 start.
"These young guys stepped up and played great," Randolph said. "Rudy hit big shots. O.J. (Mayo) played good. Marc played good. It was just a good all-around game for the whole team."
Suns 109 Hornets 100/HL2
At New Orleans, Amare Stoudemire scored 25 points and Grant Hill hit two late key baskets to help Phoenix get the win.
The Hornets played their second straight game without all-star Chris Paul, who is out indefinitely with a left knee injury that coach Jeff Bower said could require surgery. Paul was injured on Wednesday against Golden State. He got hurt again when he collided with a camera while chasing an errant pass on Friday against Chicago.
Channing Frye added 20 points for Phoenix. Robin Lopez had 18 points and Victoria's Steve Nash finished with 18 points and 12 assists.
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Bucks 97 Heat 81/HL2
At Miami, Andrew Bogut had 22 points and 11 rebounds, Carlos Delfino finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds and Milwaukee beat Miami for the second time in three nights.
The Bucks pulled within two games of the slumping Heat for the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot.
Charlie Bell and Hakim Warrick each scored 12 for the Bucks, who outscored Miami 54-27 over the final 191/2 minutes of the first half.
Dwyane Wade led the Heat with 23 points, including single-handedly scoring the first 11 of the game. From there, the Heat went shockingly cold, setting season worsts by shooting 17.6 per cent in the first quarter and 27.5 per cent in the half.
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Celtics 99 Wizards 88/HL2
At Washington, Kevin Garnett's 19 points led six Celtics in double figures, and Boston limited Washington to 2-for-18 shooting in the fourth quarter.
Boston ended a three-game skid and prevented Washington from compiling its first three-game winning streak since April 2008.
The Wizards led by eight points late in the third quarter, but the Celtics used a 16-4 run capped by Rasheed Wallace's 16-foot fadeaway jumper to go up 86-82 midway through the fourth.
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Jazz 104 Mavericks 92
At Salt Lake City, Deron Williams had 18 points and 15 assists to help Utah extend its longest winning streak of the season to six.
The Jazz held the Mavericks scoreless for more than three minutes during an 11-2 run that put Utah in control in the fourth quarter.
Paul Millsap had 25 points for the Jazz, who had seven offensive rebounds in the final quarter while outscoring the Mavs 27-16 to clinch the three-game season series. Andrei Kirilenko added 13 points.
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Nuggets 112 Kings 109 (OT)
At Denver, Arron Afflalo hit a baseline jumper with 18.4 seconds left in overtime, and Denver, down by 17 points in the third quarter, rallied to get the win.
Kenyon Martin had 24 points and 12 rebounds and Chauncey Billups had 23 points for the Nuggets, who improved to 3-0 in overtime this season and averted being swept in their three-game season series with the Kings.
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Trail Blazers 98 Bobcats 79/HL2
At Portland, Ore., LaMarcus Aldridge scored 17 points and Nicolas Batum and Jerryd Bayless had 15 points each and the Trail Blazers beat Charlotte.
Portland, which had lost its previous two home games, got off to a 10-2 start and never looked back in ending Charlotte's three-game winning streak.
Portland had six players score in double figures. Rudy Fernandez scored 11 points, while Martell Webster and Dante Cunningham had 10. Andre Miller, who had 52 points on Saturday, had eight points and 10 assists for the Blazers.

Organizations: Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Celtics Gasol Hornets Kings Trail Blazers

Geographic location: Memphis, Denver, Memphis, Tenn. Washington Los Angeles Phoenix Miami Boston Cleveland Orlando Dallas Utah New Orleans Golden Chicago Victoria Portland Salt Lake City Portland, Ore.

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