Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Wednesday evening preseason contest against Portland with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:
Lakers: Nash, Meeks*, World Peace, Gasol and Sacre
Blazers: Lillard, Matthews, Batum, Aldridge, Hickson
*We learned just before the game that Kobe Bryant wouldn’t play due to a strained right shoulder he suffered dunking on Antawn Jamison at Tuesday’s practice. He’s listed as day-to-day and will be fine, as he’d tell me on Time Warner Cable SportsNet during the second quarter.
6:20 Well, Lakers fans are sure going to enjoy watching Steve Nash play this season. In the first minute, he controlled the offense entirely, pulling up for a pretty jumper, and setting up three teammates for looks near the rim resulting in either a bucket or free throws.
0:00 The Blazers took a 25-21 lead out of the first quarter largely behind LaMarcus Aldridge, who made 4 of 7 shots for 10 points, while Metta World Peace and Pau Gasol had six points apiece for the home team. The biggest ovation of the quarter, however, came when Bryant and Dwight Howard walked out of the tunnel in street clothes.
7:50 Chris Douglas-Roberts offered a nice boost off the bench, the training camp signee who’s fighting to make the team pulling up for a deep three to tighten the gap. Preseason is always enjoyable to the diehards for that purpose, seeing players try to live up to their dreams.
0:00 Watching Nash play is just a lot of fun. Cut shot to everyone agreeing. He had seven points, four assists, three boards and two steals at the half, and should have had eight assists since three other dishes led to free throws, and Gasol missed an open dunk when the ball slipped out of his hands. At the break, thanks to Nash, we were tied at 44 despite only 38 percent Lakers shooting.
3:13 Nash continued to play well, hitting an open jumper off Gasol’s O board and assist, but Portland led by 10 thanks to some hot shooting on the other end. Rookie Damian Lillard was impressing with a game-high 14 points, plus seven assists. Of course, it’s really hard to measure L.A.’s defense when Howard’s not playing, as he’ll have such a massive impact as the league’s best player on that end.
0:00 Continuing to get a look was Douglas-Roberts, joining bench regulars Blake, Ebanks and Jamison on the floor alongside Sacre; his two free throws off a strong drive gave him five points, though L.A. trailed by 15 after the period. We had yet to see Chris Duhon, Darius Morris, Andrew Goudelock or Darius Johnson-Odom, all fighting for a roster spot.
5:31 The Blazers opened an 85-68 lead halfway through the final quarter, shooting 43.4 percent and grabbing 41 to L.A.’s 36 boards, taking advantage of 15 Lakers turnovers. Mike Brown looked the opposite of concerned on the bench, with Kobe and Howard next to him in street clothes. #preseason
0:00 Your final: Blazers 93, Lakers 75. Nash was the standout, finishing with 13 points, four dimes, four boards and two steals in 25 minutes, while World Peace continued his strong preseason with 12 points and five boards with three dimes and a swipe in 29 minutes. Up next: Utah on Saturday at STAPLES Center. See you there.