Kobe Bryant scores 47 points to lead Lakers to win at Portland
Lakers 113, Trail Blazers 106 (final)
The Lakers finally won on consecutive nights after failing 15 previous times this season, defeating the Portland Trail Blazers, 113-106, on Wednesday night at the Rose Garden.
The Lakers came back from multiple double-digit deficits to earn the win.
Kobe Bryant scored 47 points on 14-of-27 shooting, making all 18 free throws. He also had eight rebounds, five assists, four blocked shots and three steals.
Rookie Damian Lillard was a powerhouse for the Blazers, scoring 38 points on 12-of-25 shooting with nine assists and three steals. Portland gave the Lakers a real scare despite playing without starters J.J. Hickson, Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews.
Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard played well together, Gasol often finding Howard for the lob. Howard finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds while Gasol had 23 points, seven rebounds and nine assists.
The Lakers played once again without Steve Nash (hip and hamstring soreness). Steve Blake got the start at point guard along with Earl Clark at small forward. Metta World Peace played 13 1/2 minutes in his second game back from knee surgery.
LaMarcus Aldridge scored 17 points for the Blazers and finished with a game-high 16 rebounds.
The Lakers shot 58.9% (43 of 73) from the field and 87.5% from the line (21 of 24). Portland made 44.7% (38-85) of their shots, missing only two free throws on 20 attempts.
The Blazers also nailed 12 three-pointers in 26 tries (46.2%).
The Lakers defeated the New Orleans Hornets, 104-96, on Tuesday at Staples Center, making Wednesday’s win the first time the Lakers won this season on back-to-back nights.
They improve to 42-37, one game ahead of the Utah Jazz (41-38). The Lakers have three games left, all at home, against the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets.
The Jazz play the Minnesota Timberwolves twice (the second in Minneapolis) before finishing the regular season on the road against the Memphis Grizzlies. Utah owns the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Lakers.
Trail Blazers 90, Lakers 88 (end of third quarter)
The Lakers dominated Portland through most of the third quarter, pulling ahead by seven points, 78-71. Damian Lillard and the Blazers responded, pulling back ahead by four points before a pair of Kobe Bryant free throws left the Lakers down by only two points going into the fourth quarter.
Bryant has 39 points on 13-of-23 shooting, including 12 of 12 from the free-throw line.
Lillard has 34 points on 10-of-18 shooting, including 9 of 9 at the line.
Dwight Howard has 16 points for the Lakers, who shot 59.6% from the field.
LaMarcus Aldridge has 15 points for the Blazers, who have made 51.6% of their shots.
Trail Blazers 69, Lakers 61 (halftime)
The Lakers closed to within two points of the Blazers before Portland responded with a 13-4 run to go back up by double digits.
Portland shot 60.5% from the field, converting 8 of 14 from three-point range. Damian Lillard had 25 points in the first half along with seven assists.
Kobe Bryant leads all scorers with 28 points on 9-of-17 shooting. Pau Gasol was the only other Laker in double figures with 12 points on 6-of-7 shooting. The Lakers shot 57.1% from the field as a team.
If the Lakers lose another game, they’ll be at the mercy of the Utah Jazz, who have three games remaining and own the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Trail Blazers 41, Lakers 33 (end of first quarter)
The Portland Trail Blazers shot lights out against the Lakers in the first quarter Wednesday night at the Rose Garden.
The Blazers shot 68.2% from the field, converting 5 of 8 from three-point range to push ahead by 12 points.
Kobe Bryant scored in the final seconds to get the Lakers to within eight but the Blazers tallied 41 points in 12 minutes despite playing without regular starters Wesley Matthews, Nicolas Batum and J.J. Hickson.
Rookie Damian Lillard scored 17 points while dishing seven assists.
Bryant had 17 points for the Lakers, converting all seven free throws.
The Lakers shot 61.9% from the field but didn’t convert a three-point attempt.
The Lakers (41-37) visit the Portland Trail Blazers (33-44) on Wednesday night, trying to win for the first time this season on consecutive nights.
It took a lot for the Lakers to beat the New Orleans Hornets, 104-96, on Tuesday. The Blazers are dealing with injuries to guard Wesley Matthews, forward Nicolas Batum and center J.J. Hickson, which could leave them with All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge and rookie point guard Damian Lillard as the only regular starters i the lineup.
Now that the Lakers have returned to eighth place, they can’t afford to lose another game -- unless the ninth-place Utah Jazz drops another.
For a more in-depth breakdown, check out Preview: Lakers vs. Trail Blazers.
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