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Blazers End Trail of Laker Victories With 105-104 Win

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Times Staff Writer

It isn’t true that the Trail Blazers beat the Lakers about as often as Sacramento goes a whole quarter without making a basket. It only seems that way.

But Thursday night, two free throws by Portland guard Terry Porter with four seconds to play gave the Trail Blazers a 105-104 win over the Lakers, ending Los Angeles’ 10-game winning streak against the second-place team in the Pacific Division.

That was the last of 13 lead changes after Portland had forged back from a 10-point deficit, 82-72, to tie the score, 88-88, with 8:17 to play.

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The Lakers, who had been 31-0 in games in which they led after three quarters, had a final chance to win with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the bench, having fouled out on Porter’s drive to the basket.

But James Worthy, with an open lane to the basket after taking the in-bounds pass from Michael Cooper, lost the ball on his drive, and A.C. Green’s desperation follow fell short.

The Lakers thus go into the National Basketball Assn. All-Star break with a 35-12 record, half a game better than Boston’s 34-12. They lead Portland (30-19) by six games in the Pacific Division.

Worthy had scored 25 points, 16 in a scintillating first half in which he continually burned Kiki Vandeweghe with turnaround jumpers from the baseline.

The first option on the final play was for Magic Johnson to receive the in-bounds pass Cooper.

“Magic was supposed to go to the corner and I was supposed to set the pick,” Worthy said, “but when I faked right, (Jerome) Kersey jumped way over. I was surprised to have a lane that big.

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“But as soon as I switched the ball from my left to my right hand, the ball slipped out. I may have taken off a half-step too early.”

There was only one problem with Worthy’s description: Kersey was on the bench.

“That wasn’t me, that was Kiki,” said Kersey, a little puzzled that Worthy would have trouble distinguishing him from Vandeweghe.

After Johnson had drawn a foul from Jim Paxson with nine seconds to go to give the Lakers their last lead, 104-103, Portland Coach Mike Schuler called timeout and designed a play for either Vandeweghe or center Steve Johnson, each of whom had 23 points.

But when Michael Cooper denied Vandeweghe the ball and Steve Johnson encountered congestion down low, Porter--a second-year guard from Wisconsin-Stevens Point--decided to take it in himself.

He lost Byron Scott on a switch, skirted past Worthy, but then found Abdul-Jabbar in his path along the baseline. He threw up a shot that missed, but referee Ed Middleton--after an extra beat or two--blew the whistle.

Foul on Abdul-Jabbar, who left the game after scoring 19 points.

“It (the call) was late, and it was bad, too,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “There was no contact. Usually there’s contact when there’s a foul.”

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Porter, of course, wasn’t about to deny there had been a foul, but he spoke with something less than great conviction.

“Contact? I think there was a little bit,” he said. “In my arm, about here. There was kind of a delay on the call, though.”

It hadn’t appeared that the game would hinge on last-second calls, not after the Lakers opened their 10-point spread in the third quarter. But the Lakers failed to score on their next six possessions, and the Trail Blazers--who had absorbed their worst defeat of the season here on New Year’s Day in a 36-point blowout to the Lakers--came back.

“They (the Trail Blazers) played tonight for 48 minutes,” Worthy said. “Usually they have a lapse at some point, and we have a spurt, but tonight they hung right in there.”

They caught up on Kersey’s spinning layup with 8:17 to go, then the see-saw began. Neither team led by more than a point until Abdul-Jabbar, moving into position for a sky hook, dribbled the ball off his foot with the Lakers trailing, 100-99, with 90 seconds left.

Porter picked up the loose ball and fed Vandeweghe, whose right-handed runner was rejected by Worthy, but not without Worthy being called for a foul.

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Vandeweghe made both free throws, and the lead was three, 102-99. Magic Johnson, who had 10 assists along with his game-high 26 points, passed to a cutting Worthy for an easy jam that made it a one-point game, 102-101.

Then came a critical play. The Lakers had Steve Johnson trapped well out of his range near the left sideline with time running out on the shot clock. But when Magic Johnson left his man, Porter, to double-team Steve Johnson, the Portland center kicked the ball over to Porter, who drove and drew a foul from Magic with one second showing on the 24-second clock.

The 6-foot 3-inch Porter, who had 18 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds for his first NBA triple-double, made one of two free throws, and it was 103-101. With 41 seconds left, Abdul-Jabbar was fouled, but he was short on his first attempt before making the second.

Paxson’s three-point shot rimmed in and out with 16 seconds left, and Worthy grabbed the rebound, setting up Magic’s drive and subsequent free throws. But that was the last time the Lakers would be on top.

Laker Notes Magic Johnson became the eighth player in Laker history to score 10,000 points when he made two free throws at the end of the first quarter. Pat Riley presented Johnson with the ball, and the Laker guard received a standing ovation from the Portland Memorial Coliseum crowd. . . . A.C. Green had 16 rebounds Thursday, matching his career high. . . . Byron Scott offered this postscript on the near-shutout of Sacramento in the Lakers’ record 40-4 first quarter Wednesday night: “I watched the tape when I got home, and I’m still shaking my head. When it got to the point where it was 16, 17, 18 points, you could see them really tightening up. Nobody wanted to shoot the ball. You’ll probably never see anything like it. Maybe the funniest thing that happened during the game was when Reggie Theus was shooting free throws. I was standing next to LaSalle Thompson, who said to me: “You know what? This is embarrassing. And we both had these little smiles on our faces.” . . . Portland forward Kenny Carr missed the game with recurrent back problems, marking the third game he has missed because of the condition. . . . Portland’s Jerome Kersey will replace Atlanta’s Dominique Wilkins in Saturday’s slam-dunk contest in Seattle, a day before the All-Star game. Wilkins has sore knees.

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