LOS ANGELES (Sporting Alert) — Pau Gasol scored a layup with 1:36 left and the Los Angeles Lakers then held on to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 86-84 at STAPLES Center on Friday night.
Trailing 84-83 with less than two-minutes left in the game, Gasol got the go-ahead basket for the one point lead and then Dwight Howard scored one of two of his free throws with 0:04 seconds to go and then Los Angeles played solid defense on the last attempt to secure their third straight win.
Kobe Bryant paced the Lakers (40-36) with 24 points and nine rebounds, while Gasol ended with 19 points and nine boards in the important victory.
Antawn Jamison and Earl Clark both scored 13 points off the bench, with Howard held to just nine points and 10 rebounds.
“This is the big push for us,” a delighted Bryant said. “We’ve got a very tough stretch, and we’re excited.
“You want to be going into the playoffs feeling like you’re playing good ball against tough opposition. It’s been a lot of figuring out we had to do, but it’s better late than never.”
Mike Conley led the Grizzlies (51-25) with 21 points and six assists, Zach Randolph added 15 points and seven rebounds and Marc Gasol, 11 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in the defeat.
Also on Friday night, Carmelo Anthony scored 41 points to guide the New York Knicks (49-26) to a comfortable 101-83 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks (36-39).
Anthony, who scored 50 and 40 points in his previous two games, also pulled down 14 rebounds for New York, which picked up its 11th straight victory.
The star forward was supported by J.R. Smith, who finished with 30 points and 10 assists.
“You know Carmelo’s been on a tear and obviously continued again tonight,” Bucks coach Jim Boylan said. “So it’s tough.
“We were battling down there but he started making some shots, they got out in transition a few times and we just couldn’t seem to slow them down.”
Brandon Jennings scored 25 points and J.J. Redick added 18 off the bench for the Bucks.
In another highlighted game on Friday night, Oklahoma City Thunder (56-20) dominated the Indiana Pacers (48-28) on their way to a 97-75 win on the road.
The NBA leading scorer Kevin Durant led the way with 34 points for the Thunder with point guard Russell Westbrook adding 24.
Roy Hibbert paced the Pacers with 22 points in the defeat.
NBA RESULTS – Friday, April 5
Cleveland 97, Boston 91
New York 101, Milwaukee 83
Philadelphia 101, Atlanta 90
Miami 89, Charlotte 79
Oklahoma City 97, Indiana 75
Chicago 87, Orlando 86
Toronto 95, Minnesota 93
Utah 95, New Orleans 83
Golden State 111, Phoenix 107
Dallas 117, Sacramento 108
Houston 116, Portland 98
LA Lakers 86, Memphis 84