- The Washington Times - Monday, April 13, 2009

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Andrew Bynum scored 18 points in his third game back from a knee injury and the Los Angeles Lakers rolled to a 92-75 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday night.

Kobe Bryant took just nine shots, made seven, and finished with 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Pau Gasol, often matched against his brother Marc in the middle, scored 12 points and had 13 rebounds. Trevor Ariza also scored 12 in the Lakers’ balanced attack.

The 7-foot Bynum, who missed 32 games after tearing the medial collateral ligament in his right knee Jan. 31, played 25:03 against the Grizzlies. He went 6-of-10 from the floor and had five rebounds.

The Lakers’ chances of finishing with the best record in the NBA and earning home-court advantage through the finals all but mathematically ended earlier Sunday when Cleveland, with two games remaining, beat Boston 107-76 to improve to 65-15. With one game left, Los Angeles is 64-17.

O.J. Mayo led the Grizzlies with 20 points, and Marc Gasol had 14 points, eight rebounds and four assists.

Down 48-37 at halftime after shooting just 33 percent to Los Angeles’ 44 percent in the first half, the Grizzlies narrowed the gap to 58-52 on Rudy Gay’s 3 with 4:07 left in the third quarter. But Bryant hit a turnaround jumper from 15 feet, Pau Gasol made a layup, Ariza added a pair of dunks and Los Angeles suddenly had opened the lead back to 14. The Lakers were up 70-59 heading into the fourth quarter and pulled away from there.

The Grizzlies began the game with a pair of treys by Mayo and Gay, and a dunk by Darrell Arthur to shoot out to an 8-0 lead in the opening 2:19. The Lakers then got Pau Gasol’s layup, Bynum’s dunk and layup, and a drive by Ariza that made it 8-8 4:26 in.

Los Angeles went on to lead 23-15 at the end of the first quarter and was in front the rest of the game.

The Lakers close the regular season at home Tuesday against the Utah Jazz, their probable first-round foes.

Notes:@ Phil Jackson said he’s cut down on G Derek Fisher’s minutes over the past few games because he wants him rested for the playoffs. Fisher played 18 minutes against Memphis and scored four points on 2-of-9 shooting. … Los Angeles went 4-0 to sweep the series against Memphis for the first time since 2002-03. … Los Angeles was coming off a 106-98 loss at Portland on Friday. Memphis beat Phoenix 106-89 win Friday, the Grizzlies’ fifth win in seven games.

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