We broke down some of the more intriguing numbers from LAL’s 111-107 win against Portland:
Points for Kobe Bryant, the 117th time in his career he’s reached that mark. Bryant scored 29 in the second half (10 of 14 from the floor, 9 of 9 free throws), including 18 of the Lakers 27 points in the third quarter to help push L.A. past Portland. Also of note: Bryant nailed his first 3-pointer in three weeks, after entering the contest just 1 for 34 in his last 15 games.
Rebounds for Dwight Howard, to go along with 19 points. The big man had already recorded a double-double by halftime (15 points, 10 boards), but re-injured his right shoulder before halftime. Even so, he still finished the game, but of more importance, it was his second strong performance in a row. Postgame, Howard acknowledged the team’s overall energy directly correlates with his play. “It starts with me,” he said.
Lead changes in the fourth quarter alone – 27 in the game – with Steve Nash’s one-footed jumper in the lane putting the Lakers up for good with 1:44 left. Portland had three opportunities to tie the game or take the lead after that, but Damian Lillard missed a 3-pointer, Nicolas Batum was charged with a lost ball turnover after an official review and LaMarcus Aldridge missed a fadeaway jumper. Bryant then closed the game with four free throws.
Plus-rating for Antawn Jamison, who finished with 16 points and six boards on the night. In his last four games, he is averaging 16.8 points and 6.3 rebounds on 52.1 percent from the floor. “I know exactly what is needed of me, especially with the second unit,” Jamison said. “When I’m out there on the court, I’m just trying to make a difference, and just try to contribute as much as possible.”
Field goals for Nash, out of 11 attempts. None was bigger than his jumper in the lane that broke a 105-all tie with 1:44 remaining. Uncharacteristically, Nash also missed his only free-throw attempt off a Wesley Matthews technical foul. Postgame, though, he stated his back had been bothering him the entire game. “I tweaked my back in the first quarter, it just kept locking up and was tight the whole game,” he said. “At the end of the game, you just try to fight through and make a play.”