The Los Angeles Lakers were successful in their first game at Staples Center, if not particularly impressive.
A sellout crowd of 18,997 watched the game at the new $375 million downtown arena which opened last month. The Lakers played their home games at the Forum in nearby Inglewood from Dec. 31, 1967 through last season.
"The crowd was OK," O'Neal said. "It's a new building. It's a big building, very bright, very colorful. It's going to be fun playing here."
The game was also the first in Los Angeles for Lakers coach Phil Jackson, whose team opened the season Tuesday night with a 91-84 victory at Utah.
"A very difficult place to play," Jackson said of Staples Center. "The energy was weird in the first half. The second half, we got a little energy, played some defense. It's going to be a strange place to play for a while."
The Lakers outscored the Grizzlies 54-40 after holding a one-point halftime lead.
Vancouver lost to visiting Portland 106-86 in its season-opener, and had an 8-42 record in last season's lockout-shortened season worst in the NBA.
When asked what Jackson told the team at the intermission, O'Neal replied, "He said `We're playing dead, we're playing like zombies. We've got to go out and play.' And we did."
O'Neal, who played 34 minutes, made 13 of 22 field goal attempts and 2 of 6 free throws. He also had four assists and three blocked shots.
"I liked the game Shaq played tonight," Jackson said. "The second unit was really critical for us, with Fox and Shaw coming off the bench."
Rice scored 28 points in the game at Utah.
"It's a lovely way to get started," he said about the first two games.
About Jackson, Rice said, "He brings the best out of us. He makes you want to work as hard as possible."
Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Michael Dickerson led the Grizzlies with 19 points each. Abdur-Rahim also had 11 rebounds, but missed his first seven field goal attempts and finished just 5-of-19 from the floor.
"I think I got good enough looks, but I missed shots that I can make," Abdur-Rahim said. "I wouldn't say I was forced to take bad shots."
O'Neal scored with 22 seconds left before halftime to put the Lakers on top 49-48, and Los Angeles then outscored Vancouver 17-5 to start the second half for a 66-53 lead. The Grizzlies weren't closer than nine points after that.
"I thought we had our opportunities, but we just got a little bit careless with the ball in the second half," said Grizzlies coach Brian Hill, whose team had 18 turnovers to 13 for the Lakers.
O'Neal scored 13 points in the third quarter, which ended with the Lakers on top 79-67. Los Angeles scored six straight points early in the final period to make it 85-69.
O'Neal had 12 points as the Lakers took a 23-22 first-quarter lead. Neither team led by more than six points until the Lakers' spurt at the start of the third quarter.
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