The Lakers kept it close for most of the game against the Portland Trail Blazers, despite playing without Kobe Bryant, but couldn't deal with Damian Lillard yet again, falling 106-94 on Sunday night at Staples Center.
Neither team led by double digits through three quarters. Nick Young, who struggled with his shooting touch through most of the game, scored six quick points in the fourth quarter to tie the score at 75.
Portland, one of the best fourth-quarter teams in the NBA, responded with a 17-3 run to take a commanding 14-point lead.
The Lakers were able to whittle the deficit down to six before Lillard exploded with a thunderous dunk, followed by a pair of jump shots, including a three-pointer, to seal the game.
Lillard didn't reach the 39 points he scored against the Lakers in a 98-94 win on Monday in Portland, but his 34 points were awfully close.
Wesley Johnson, returning from a three-game absence with a hip injury, paced the Lakers with 17 points. Carlos Boozer 13 points off the bench along with a team-high nine rebounds. Jordan Hill scored 12 while Wayne Ellington added 10.
The Blazers also got 16 points from Wesley Matthews, 15 from LaMarcus Aldridge, 11 from Nicolas Batum and 10 from backup center Meyers Leonard.
Ronnie Price dished 12 assists with eight points for the Lakers while Ellington, who started for Bryant, made only three of 10 shots. Young finished with nine points on three-of-11 shooting.
The Lakers shot 44.4% from the field as a team, while the Blazers shot 47.7%.
With the loss, the Lakers fall to 12-26. They'll host the Miami Heat (16-21) on Tuesday night. The Trail Blazers (30-8) are off until Wednesday, when they host the Clippers (25-13) in Portland.
Trail Blazers 72, Lakers 69 (end of third quarter)
The Lakers jumped on Portland to start the third quarter, scoring seven in a row to take a two-point lead. Portland responded, to climb ahead by as many as seven.
Holding the Blazers scoreless for almost 3 1/2 minutes, the Lakers were able to tie the score at 69. Portland ended the quarter with three consecutive points.
Portland's Damian Lillard leads all scorers with 17 points. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 13 for the Blazers, who are shooting 46.% from the field.
The Lakers got 12 points apiece from Wesley Johnson and Carlos Boozer. Jordan Hill added 10, while Tarik Black played a productive 14 minutes with six points and five rebounds.
The Lakers are shooting 44.4% from the field, although Nick Young has struggled, making only one of eight shots. Ronnie Price has 10 assists to go with his six points.
Trail Blazers 50, Lakers 45 (halftime)
The Lakers managed to pull ahead by as many as three points before the Trail Blazers jumped back on top with an 11-5 run late in the second quarter.
Steve Blake hit a corner three-pointer to give the Blazers, who shot 45.5% from the field, a five-point lead after 24 minutes. The former Laker scored six points off the bench.
Portland's Damian Lillard leads all scorers with 13 points and he has seven assists. Meyers Leonard added seven points off the bench for the Trail Blazers.
The Lakers shot 42.9% from the field. Carlos Boozer has scored 10 points on five-of-six shooting. Wesley Johnson scored eight while Jeremy Lin contributed seven points and two assists.
Nick Young went scoreless on five shots.
Both teams took just eight free throws.
Trail Blazers 23, Lakers 20 (end of first quarter)
The Lakers survived a difficult first quarter against the Blazers, falling behind by as many as seven points before narrowing the gap in the final minutes.
Wayne Ellington started for Kobe Bryant, going scoreless in eight minutes. The Lakers, who shot only 36.4% from the field, were led by Carlos Boozer with six points off the bench.
Tarik Black stepped into Robert Sacre's spot in the rotation behind starting center Jordan Hill. Ryan Kelly played backup small forward to Wesley Johnson, with Nick Young sliding to shooting guard.
The Blazers, who shot 40.9% from the field, have been led by Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge with six points apiece.
Wesley Johnson is expected to return from a hip injury, but Kobe Bryant's status (rest) is still to be determined. Robin Lopez (hand), Joel Freeland (shoulder) and Allen Crabbe (knee) are out for the Blazers.
For an in-depth breakdown, check out Preview: Lakers vs. Trail Blazers.