Lakers 104 - Trail Blazers 87 (final)
In a night when Showtime Laker Jamaal Wilkes saw his No. 52 jersey retired at halftime, the Lakers rolled over the Portland Trail Blazers 104-87.
The Lakers climb to 15-15, ninth in the Western Conference behind the 14-14 Blazers (on the conference-record tiebreaker).
Kobe Bryant led all scorers with just 27 points, his 10-game 30-points-or-greater streak coming to an end. The Lakers starters were finally able to play reduced minutes, Pau Gasol and Bryant both at team-highs with 31.
Dwight Howard had 21 points and 14 rebounds. Gasol contributed 15 points, nine boards and five assists as the Lakers shot 46.5% from the field.
The Blazers were led by LaMarcus Aldridge’ 26 points. Damian Lillard had 11 but shot 4-17. Portland shot 41.4% and 15.8% from three.
Next, the Lakers host the Philadelphia 76ers on New Year’s Day.
Lakers 88 – Trail Blazers 66 (end of third quarter)
The Lakers pulled away from the Blazers in the third, extending the lead to 22 points, led by Kobe Bryant’s 27 points.
The Blazers shot 41.8% from the field but only got to the free throw line 10 times against 26 for the Lakers. LaMarcus Aldridge led Portland with 26 points but his only teammate in double figures was Damian Lillard (11).
Coach Mike D’Antoni started both halves with second-year guard Darius Morris on Lillard, who shot just 4-17 from the field. Meanwhile Morris had six points on 3-4 shooting, including a dunk off a lob from Bryant.
The Lakers shot 53.1% from the field. Dwight Howard had a double-double with 21 points and 14 rebounds. Steve Nash dished 10 assists.
Lakers 62 - Trail Blazers 48 (halftime)
The Blazers briefly closed the gap against the Lakers bench until the reserves (along with Dwight Howard) regained composure and extended the league back to double figures.
The starters returned and the Lakers regained control on Pau Gasol’s three-pointer that gave his team a 20-point lead. The Blazers were able to shave off six points from the Lakers’ biggest lead to finish the half down 14.
The Lakers were led by Dwight Howard with 17 points, shooting 57.1% from the field. The Blazers shot 45.7% from the field, and were led by LaMarcus Aldridge’s 20 points.
Neither team turned the ball over often with three for Portland and six for the Lakers.
Lakers 34 - Trail Blazers 25 (end of first quarter)
The Lakers unloaded on the Portland Trail Blazers with a 34-point first quarter.
Led by Kobe Bryant’s 13 points, the Lakers shot 62.5% from the field.to climb as high as 12 points over Portland. Dwight Howard scored nine on 4-of-5 shooting while Steve Nash dished six assists in 10 minutes.
LaMarcus Aldridge was the high-man for the Blazers with 10 points as his team shot 50% from the field.
Darius Morris was the fifth starter, matching up defensively against rookie point guard Damian Lillard, who had just two points in the period. Morris scored four in 6 1/2 minutes.
The Lakers (14-15) host the Portland Trail Blazers (14-13) on Friday night at Staples Center.
Pau Gasol is expected to play through the recently-diagnosed plantar fasciitis in his right foot.
The Blazers have a talented starting five but, like the Lakers, can struggle for depth. Portland has been playing some of its best basketball of the season lately. Before the Lakers’ let down on Wednesday night in Denver, they had won five straight.
The last time these two teams met all the way back on Oct. 31, the Lakers not only lost the game, but also lost Steve Nash to a leg fracture.
The rule of thumb on games between the Lakers and Blazers - the home team almost always wins.
For a more in-depth breakdown, check out Preview: Lakers at Trail Blazers.