Lakers fade as Portland turns what looks like bad loss into win, 98-94

Lakers' Ronnie Price suffers what may be a broken nose and Trail Blazers, led by Damian Lillard, win, 98-94

PORTLAND, Ore. —Another Laker went down.

This time, it was point guard Ronnie Price, who suffered what he called a broken nose in the third quarter of the Lakers' 98-94 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night at the Moda Center.

With Price going down in the third, as well ash Kobe Bryant back home resting and the team's top wing defender, Wesley Johnson, out with a strained right hip flexor, the Lakers had no one who could stop Portland All-Star guard Damian Lillard.

Lillard was the reason why the Trail Blazers turned what had the looks of being a bad loss into a close win, as he scored 16 of his 39 points in the fourth quarter.

If Price had been available, he would have been defending Lillard.

But Price was in the Lakers' locker room with trainer Gary Vitti, getting 11 stitches on the left side of his nose.

"By the looks of things, I'm pretty sure it's broken," Price said. "I'm not sure. We'll find out more" Tuesday.

Price will see Dr. John Rehm, an ear, nose and throat specialist, Tuesday in Los Angeles.

Price suffered the injury with 29.8 seconds left in the third, taking an elbow from Thomas Robinson.

Price hit the court face first, causing his nose to bleed.

By the way, Price was called for a foul on the play.

"The pain didn't actually come until now, about five or 10 minutes ago," Price said after the game. "I didn't feel any pain in my nose. Everything was numb. I just thought it was a bloody nose. I didn't know I needed stitches until everyone was looking at me…. It happens. It's part of the game. It could have been worse, I guess."

Price's teammate, Ed Davis, broke his nose last Friday night against Memphis, but has continued to play while wearing a mask.

Price, who had 11 points, said he doesn't plan on wearing a mask.

"I feel fine," Price said. "A little pain and a little headache. Other than that, I'm good."

The Lakers were so close to having an opportunity to win this game, even opening a 10-point lead in the third quarter and holding a one-point lead with 43.3 seconds left on two Jeremy Lin free throws.

But Lillard, as he did all game long and especially against Lin, scored, this time on a back-door cut, and then made two free throws for a 95-92 Portland lead with 18.9 seconds left.

Still, the Lakers had a chance — until Lin shot an air ball three-pointer from the top, ending any hope and sending the Lakers to their 19th loss out of their last 25 games here.

"I didn't get set on my balance," said Lin, who was five for 10 from the field for 14 points. "That's a shot that I've worked on. I like that shot. It didn't turn out the way I wanted it to, obviously."

broderick.turner@latimes.com

Twitter:BA_Turner

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