The Lakers rallied from seven points down at halftime to topple the Blazers 96-83. Kobe Bryant scored 30 points to go along with nine rebounds and seven assists in leading the Lakers to their season high ninth straight victory.
“It took us a while to get going in the ball game,” said Coach Jackson. “They took the game up another level as far as physicality and I thought we weren’t ready to match that.”
Jordan Farmar also matched his career high in points tonight with 21, energizing the Lakers on both ends of the floor.
“He was a factor tonight,” said Jackson. “Sasha didn’t shoot the ball well in the first half, Jordan got us back in the ball game with some plays and helped us win that game tonight.”
“I think it just shows our depth and versatility,” said Farmar. “That’s what comes into play when the stars aren’t playing well or certain guys aren’t, it’s not their night, other guys can come and step up into place, and that’s just a great team.”
The Lakers needed every bit of juice provided by Farmar as Pau Gasol was unable to assert himself on offense, despite scoring 15 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
“…Pau struggled tonight; he didn’t get as much activity, penetration, lay-up type of things that he got before,” said Jackson. “Kobe and Lamar were in foul trouble for the most part tonight so I had to limit his game, so we had to have other people help us tonight.”
In winning their f40th game of the season against only 17 losses, the Lakers met one of Jackson’s true tests of a good team: winning 40 games before losing 20.
“I thought coming out of the all-star break that if we could find our way through some of the early games and found our rhythm again there was a chance we could do that and we did,” said Jackson.
“We’re having a lot of fun, I think we’re enjoying it, but at the same time, we’re focused and alert,” said Gasol. “We want to continue winning, and you know, it’s not going to come easy, they’re just not going to give it up to us that easily. We’re excited but at the same time we’re really focused on every game, next game is Miami, and we’re going to try to win that one too.”