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We took a look at the Lakers – Blazers contest in Portland while it was happening, entering a thought or three each quarter as the Lakers looked to snap an nine-game losing streak in the Rose Garden.
Lakers: Kobe Bryant*
Blazers: Brandon Roy, Greg Oden, Joel Pryzbilla
*No, really … more on that below.
Lakers: Fisher, Artest, Odom Gasol and Bynum
Blazers: Andre Miller, Jerryd Bayless, Martell Webster, LaMarcus Aldridge, Juwan Howard
Kobe Bryant Out For First Time Since Dec. 8, 2006
How about that? Kobe ALWAYS plays, so his sprained ankle was obviously really bothering him to the point that he didn’t feel like he could help significantly (CLICK HERE to read more). Portland was dealing with its own injury to a star player, as Brandon Roy was set to miss his 10th straight game with a right hamstring strain.
12:00 No Kobe + No Roy = A Bit Less Energy. Portland’s always among the loudest arenas in the league, particularly when the Lakers are in town, but there was certainly some deflation with the stars from each team in dress clothes.
7:22 Juwan Howard, who’s literally one of three players still in the NBA from his 1994 Draft Class (Jason Kidd and Grant Hill), made all four of his face-up jump shots to give Portland an early 12-8 edge.
0:03.3 Before the game, assistant coach Brian Shaw mentioned his curiosity to see which players would step up in Bryant’s absence. While the first quarter was a collective effort, Shannon Brown distinguished himself with a team-high nine points in seven minutes thanks to 4-of-5 shooting, including a quarter-ending and-1 that cut Portland’s lead to 29-26 despite the Blazers’ 62.3 percent shooting.
9:21 Little things plagued the Lakers early on in this one, including a defensive lapse from Brown that left Rudy Fernandez – among Portland’s best three-point shooters – wide open at the end of the shot clock when Brown stepped in to double Steve Blake. Fernandez swished the open look, putting Portland up 37-28.
3:30 After a solid steal and resulting fastbreak layup from Derek Fisher (whose minutes were up considerably with Bryant on the bench since Phil Jackson needed his floor leadership), Gasol laid in near the rim to tie the game at 41. The bucket capped an 11-2 run for the Lakers, who at that point were led by Brown’s 14 points and seven boards from Odom.
0:00.1 Ron Artest caught fire for the Lakers to close the half, nailing three consecutive three-pointers including a buzzer-beating bomb from just inside the halfcourt line to give L.A. a 54-48 cushion.
12:00 Already playing without Bryant, L.A. learned that it would be without Bynum for the second half due to a hip contusion he suffered early in the first quarter.
9:54 Fisher continued a solid game by nailing his second three-pointer of the first two minutes, keeping L.A.’s lead at six as he climbed to 14 points. His season high, accomplished three times, was 15 heading into the game (one of those games was L.A.’s first in Portland on Jan. 8).
3:44 Into a full time out, the Blazers shooting percentage had gone straight down the tubes since a 63.2% first quarter. Forced largely into settling for jumpers, Portland had converted just 11-for-30 (36%) from the field to trail 67-59. L.A., meanwhile, turned again to Artest, whose back-to-back buckets got him to a game-high 19 points before Gasol’s quarter-ending dunk (courtesy of Farmar’s pick-and-roll dish) gave L.A. a 73-64 edge after three. Artest, Fisher and Brown had combined for 50 of L.A.’s 73 points, while Gasol (8), Odom (6) and Bynum (6) had just 20.
9:00 Sasha Vujacic, who couldn’t get anything to go against Denver (missing all five of his three-point attempts) nailed his first shot of the night, a two, that preceded Jordan Farmar’s three-pointer moments later to put L.A. up 78-66. We’d be remiss not to mention Odom’s fantastic work on the glass after he grabbed his 19th board to match his season high.
6:23 Farmar nailed another triple to give L.A. its biggest lead to that point as the bench contributed a solid opening to the fourth. They were simply getting a bit of production from everyone who entered the game … you know, the whole rally-around-the-flag bit.
2:14 On defense, Odom grabbed his 22nd rebound to tie a career high (previous in March of 2008 vs Golden State), while on offense Gasol became the sixth Laker in double figures. The game concluded moments later at a 99-82 clip, leaving your postgame numbers:
3,000 Career assists reached by Lamar Odom early in the third quarter to become the eighth fastest player in NBA history to 3,000 assists and 6,000 rebounds. It’s quite a list in front of him: Larry Bird, Chris Webber, Kevin Garnett, Oscar Robertson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor.
63.2 Portland’s shooting percentage in the first quarter, rendering 29 points. From there on, however, they couldn’t hit a thing, finishing at just 43.7 percent.
22 Odom’s career-high rebounding total in an impressive all-around game that also featured 10 points, six assists, a steal and a block.
6 Lakers in double-figures, including Ron Artest (21), Shannon Brown (19), Derek Fisher (14), Pau Gasol (13), Jordan Farmar (12) and Lamar Odom (10)
5 Years it had been since the Lakers won in Portland, when they earned a 86-83 victory on Feb. 23, 2005, a nine-game stretch.