We broke down some of the more intriguing numbers from LAL’s 104-87 win against Portland:
Points the Lakers are averaging in four games since Steve Nash returned from injury. The team rode a 62-point first half on 57.1 percent shooting from the floor en route to getting to the .500 mark again (15-15).
Points the Lakers allowed to Portland in the second half, the Blazers shooting just 36.6 percent from the floor (15 for 41). Dwight Howard recorded three blocked shots – and altered many others – to go along with 21 points and 14 rebounds, his first 20/10 game in two-and-a-half weeks. “His presence on the defensive end is invaluable and we have to have it,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “If we don’t have it, then we’ll suffer a little bit. He played very well.”
Fastbreak points for LA, a team that had ranked 24th in the league coming into the contest (10.4 per game).
Offensive rebounds for LA toward 26 second-chance points. They also held a +8 differential on the boards (52-44), one game after conceding 20 offensive boards and 25 second-chance points to the Nuggets. “We just came out and we played hard tonight from the beginning,” Dwight Howard said. “Our effort was there, we played inside-out, ran the ball, our defense was real good tonight and that’s why we won the game.”
Points for Blazers point guard Damian Lillard, who shot just 4 for 17 on the night. D’Antoni started Darius Morris on the rookie of the year candidate, who was praised postgame for his defensive energy, as well as his play on offense. “He plays a good role for us defensively,” Steve Nash said. “He guards tough players and allows us to save some energy. He also showed tonight he can make some plays offensively. He’s a young player that’s going to continue to get better. He brings athleticism and energy to our team that we don’t have an abundance of and he’s important.”
Assists for Pau Gasol, who has had at least that amount since his return from tendinitis in his knees. It is also the number of 3-pointers made for the 7-foot Spaniard in his last three contests, after converting on 2 of 3 for the second straight game. “I like that,” Gasol said. “It’s a good stat more so than the 3′s. I like getting my teammates easy looks and just moving the ball. It’s a good sign when your assists are up as a team. Everybody gets a chance. Open guys can get the ball. It gives you confidence and a good team flow.”
Fourth-quarter minutes for Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, a game in which the Lakers never trailed and led by as many as 27 points. It was the first time since Dec. 5 at New Orleans Bryant had played less than 40 minutes.