With only one game in between, the Lakers and Blazers will tip off from the Rose Garden on Friday night with the Portland looking for revenge after L.A. toppled them 96-83.
In their meeting on Tuesday, the Blazers controlled the game for almost the entire first half, surprising a flat Lakers team en route to a 15-point lead at one point. LaMarcus Aldridge excelled on offense for Portland, scoring a team-high 24 points. He did however, have only 2 points in the 3rd quarter when the Lakers held the Blazers to 14 points. Point guard Steve Blake (17 points, seven rebounds, 5 assists) and Travis Outlaw (18 points, four rebounds) were instrumental in helping the Blazers to a seven-point halftime lead despite missing their top scorer, Brandon Roy.
Despite Portland’s balanced effort, Kobe Bryant’s 30 points, nine rebounds and seven assists—including an array of clutch shots in the fourth quarter—were too much for the undermanned Blazers. Jordan Farmar also torched Portland for 21 points, matching his then career high (he got 24 points last night against Miami).
Instead of sulking over the loss, the hungry Blazers took their anger out on the Lakers’ STAPLES Center neighbors, narrowly defeating the Clippers 82-80. Portland got huge contributions from Jarrett Jack and Martell Webster, with Jack draining a pivotal jumper in the final minute for his season-high tying twenty-first point and Webster coming through with 15 points, five rebounds and three steals in place of the injured Roy.
Matchups between the Lakers and Blazers have historically led to some heated contests, with the Lakers losing the season series to them last year. With Tuesday night’s game providing the latest battle, there is no reason the Lakers should expect anything less than a tough game this Friday—with or without Roy in the lineup.