We broke down some of the more intriguing numbers from LAL’s 113-106 win at Portland:
Kobe Bryant went the distance for the first time since April 12, 2007 vs. LAC. The 16-year veteran matched Portland’s Damian Lillard nearly bucket for bucket in the first quarter, the two both finishing with 17 points after 12 minutes of play. Bryant ended the game with 47 points (a season-high on 14 of 27 field goals and 18 of 18 free throws), eight boards, five assists, four blocks and three steals. Via Elias Sports, it was the first time an NBA player had recorded those types of numbers in one game.
Second-half points for Portland on just 28.6 percent field goals. This came on the heels of a 69-point first half at a 60.5 percent clip. The Blazers scoring dropped each quarter, from 41, 28, 21 and 16. After Lillard notched 25 points (9 of 14 field goals and 4 of 7 on 3′s) and seven assists in the first half, he shot just 3 for 11 in the second, with the Lakers making a conscious effort to get the ball out of hands of screen and roll actions.
Assists for Pau Gasol, a number of them finding Dwight Howard for easy buckets at the rim. The 7-foot Spaniard also finished with 23 points (11 of 15 field goals), seven rebounds and two blocks. In the pivotal fourth quarter, Gasol was 5 for 6 towards 11 points, grabbed three boards and dished out three assists. In five April games, he is averaging 18 points on 59 percent field goals, 10 rebounds, six assists and one block.
Offensive rebounds from Steve Blake in the last two minutes of the game, both leading to points – Dwight Howard split one of two free throws and Gasol found Howard off a lob for a dunk. Blake also stripped Lillard at the top of the key leading to a clear path foul (two free throws for Bryant), plus a jumper on the ensuing possession to push L.A.’s lead to 106-100, capping a 16-5 run with 4:10 left. The 6-foot-3 guard had eight points and tied a season-high with seven boards, but none two bigger than the offensive rebounds late in the contest.
The Lakers are a full game ahead of Utah for the No. 8 playoff seed with three games remaining for both teams. L.A. closes the regular season out at home against Golden State, San Antonio and Houston. The Jazz face Minnesota twice (one home, one away) and then Memphis on the road. The win also gave L.A. its first sweep of a back-to-back set all year; the Lakers had been 0-15 in previous situations.