Kobe Bryant helps Lakers close out road trip with victory

Los Angeles Lakers 96, Memphis Grizzlies 92

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Los Angeles' Kobe Bryant dribbles around Memphis' Jamaal Franklin in the first half of Tuesday's game. Bryant had 21 points, hitting 9 of 18 of his shots from the field.  DANNY JOHNSTON/ASSOCIATED PRESS
DANNY JOHNSTON/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Los Angeles' Kobe Bryant dribbles around Memphis' Jamaal Franklin in the first half of Tuesday's game. Bryant had 21 points, hitting 9 of 18 of his shots from the field.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Kobe Bryant scored 21 points in his sixth game of the season, and the Los Angeles Lakers closed out a four-game road trip with a 96-92 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night.

Pau Gasol also had 21 points and nine rebounds for the Lakers, who were coming off a 114-100 loss at Atlanta on Monday night. Nick Young had 18 points, and Jodie Meeks finished with 13.

Zach Randolph had 18 points and a season-high 16 rebounds for Memphis. The Grizzlies played without Mike Conley, who sat out after bruising his left thigh in Sunday’s loss to Minnesota.

The Grizzlies led 69-67 in the fourth quarter before the Lakers went on a 17-4 run.

Bryant played 32 minutes, matching his most action since returning from his torn left Achilles’ tendon. He was 9 for 18 from the field, both season highs, despite running the offense most of the night.

Bryant, who was 4 of 14 for eight points in the loss in Atlanta, was active right from the start in Memphis.

HEAT: LeBron James did not practice with the Miami Heat on Tuesday because of a sprained left ankle, leaving his availability for tonight’s matchup against the Eastern Conference-leading Indiana Pacers in some doubt.

James got hurt during Monday’s win over Utah. He was able to finish that game, though woke up with soreness on Tuesday, which he expected.

“I’ve had my fair share of ankle twists so I already knew how it was going to be today,” James said.

“Very stiff, very sore, it’ll be around the clock treatment with Mike (Mancias, his trainer) and we’ll go from there.”

James said if the Heat were playing on Tuesday, he would not be in the lineup, “for sure.” It’s not uncommon for him to heal from sprains quickly, however.

“I’ve had extreme to not so extreme,” James said. “We’ve been through this and we know how to attack it.”

James rolled the ankle inward while dribbling late in the third quarter against the Jazz. He re-laced his sneaker, which is his typical method of treating ankle turns in order to minimize the opportunity for fast swelling, but left the game shortly afterward and spent about seven minutes on the Heat bench.

Once he returned, James showed no ill effects, finishing off a 30-point, nine-rebound, nine-assist night.

WARRIORS: Andre Iguodala was in the starting lineup against the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday night after missing the past 12 games with a right hamstring injury.

Iguodala was in his usual spot at small forward, moving Harrison Barnes back into a reserve role.

KNICKS: Recalled guard Chris Smith from Erie of the NBA Development League after yet another injury to their backcourt.

Pablo Prigioni broke his right big toe in Monday’s loss to Washington, joining fellow point guard Raymond Felton among the injured.

TEAMING UP: Bryant and former President Clinton will lead a panel on kids and sports at a conference in January.

The roundtable discussion will open the Clinton Health Matters Initiative Conference on Jan. 13 in La Quinta, Calif.

Topics will include barriers to access, coaching quality and safety.

“There’s so much to be gained, so much from health and fitness,” Bryant said.


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