The Lakers must’ve been too busy checking out Rihanna courtside to notice they were turning it over at a nearly record-setting pace (27 turnovers) in their 90-82 win over Memphis. The fact that Kobe (26 points, nine dimes), Gasol (13 points, 15 rebounds) and Bynum (15 points, 15 rebounds) still won probably tells you more about the Grizz than anything else. All of the good vibes from last season are gone, and Memphis is right back to where they were prior to the second half of last year: a bunch of okay players with no purpose or centering belief. The return of Z-Bo can’t happen soon enough … The Lakers led by 13 near the end of the third, but by the nine minute mark of the fourth, that lead was down to four. Too many stupid threes and a bunch of bench guys banging Js for Memphis brought the Grizzlies back to life in a hurry. L.A. got it in line long enough to survive with Bryant playing one of his better playmaking games in a while, and the seven footer tag team completely dominating on the glass. We’ve been saying this for the past year or so, but even with the nice win last night, the Lakers can’t seem to finish off close games anymore. A lot of that has to do with Kobe losing a step. The rest of it may be just age. But already four times this year, L.A. has given up huge late-game runs (And for a while it looked like it was gonna happen again last night) … Rudy Gay (19 points) had a sick follow-up slam in the third quarter where he dunked it so hard, we thought he might’ve popped his shoulder back out again. On the very next possession, Kobe blew by him for one of his patented baseline reverse jams like we’re in 2005 (Didn’t we just say he’s lost a step?) … When we chilled with Steve Nash last week, we had to ask him what some of our readers were wondering: Should he be shooting more often on this team? He told us he has the green light to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants. Coming from Nash, that’s not even a stab at Alvin Gentry. It just is what it is in Phoenix. Last night, Nash nearly set a record for assists in a half, and had 17 dimes by the end of the third of the Suns’ 109-93 win over Milwaukee. We guess he’s not ready to start chucking just yet … And does Kyrie Irving (21 points) pass the eye test? Considering we’ve already watched Cleveland more than we did all of last year, we’d say yes. He had one double crossover on Kurt Thomas in the third quarter where he went around Thomas as if Crazy Eyes was an old man. Wait … Cleveland caught some hate for picking Tristan Thompson so high this summer. But he’s been balling this year and had a crazy end-to-end sequence once he checked in last night. On defense, he spiked back Nicolas Batum‘s shot at the rim, then ran the floor, got an offensive rebound and smashed … The Cavs hung around on Portland for a while. But eventually, the Blazers stepped it up and ran away with the game, 98-78 behind LaMarcus Aldridge and his 28 points … We’re out like Ike Taylor.
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