NBA

Fri, Dec 28, 2012 - 10:30 PM ET
Game Recap
 

Lakers take command, beat Blazers

Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard (12) goes in for a basket against the defense of Portland Trail Blazers center J.J. Hickson (21)
The Lakers' Dwight Howard eludes the Trail Blazers' J.J. Hickson around the basket.
Share This Story

   
 

LOS ANGELES (AP)

Kobe Bryant's streak of 10 straight 30-point games ended only because he spent the fourth quarter on the bench alongside Dwight Howard and Steve Nash in a blowout win.

The way the Los Angeles Lakers are playing lately, Bryant has reason to hope he'll spend less time cramming boxscores and more time riding the pine.

Howard had 21 points and 14 rebounds, Bryant scored 27 points and the Lakers never trailed in their sixth win in seven games, 104-87 over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night.

Pau Gasol had 15 points and nine rebounds as the Lakers closed out their 2012 schedule by climbing back to .500 (15-15) in their rocky season. Los Angeles had little trouble rolling past the Blazers, taking a 20-point lead in the first half and methodically dissecting Portland's defense with another fluid offensive performance.

''It was just energy,'' Bryant said. ''We're playing really well. We've just got to keep it going.''

The Lakers earned an easy fourth quarter with dominance in the first three, when they resembled the offensive powerhouse everybody expected to see in purple and gold this year.

''I'm a big believer that the ball will find energy,'' Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said. ''If you put energy on the floor, you end up with a good game.''

Nash's playmaking again set an impressive tone for the Lakers, who outrebounded the Blazers 52-44 and took a 27-point lead late while scoring 23 fast-break points. Nash had 10 assists and six points while playing just 27 minutes in his fourth game back from a seven-week absence with a small fracture in his leg, the result of a collision with Portland's Damian Lillard on Oct. 31 in Nash's second game with the Lakers.

''We're obviously still a new team,'' Nash said. ''It's new to me. I'm new to the offense. We're trying to figure it out. I think we're growing more and more cohesive, but I've got a long way to go.''

The biggest impact was made by Howard, who played with noticeable urgency on both ends after a lackluster outing in Denver two days ago, blocking three shots and even hitting four straight free throws when Portland briefly played Hack-a-Howard with the 50 percent foul shooter in the second quarter.

''We just came out and we played hard tonight from the beginning,'' Howard said. ''Our effort was there. We played inside-out, ran the ball, and our defense was real good tonight. And Pau was looking like (Dirk) Nowitzki out there. Pau Nowitzki hit two 3s.''

Yes, even Gasol appeared to have little trouble getting open shots - including those two 3-pointers - despite playing with plantar fasciitis in his right foot, a recently diagnosed condition that will only get better with rest. The Lakers have the weekend off before returning Tuesday against Philadelphia.

LaMarcus Aldridge scored 26 points before sitting out the final minutes with a bruised chest for cold-shooting Portland, which lost for just the second time in eight games. Los Angeles' defense held Lillard, Portland's star rookie, to 11 points on 4-for-17 shooting.

''They just outworked us from top to bottom and played harder than us,'' Lillard said. ''And because of how aggressive they were, they made shots. They scored transition points, and they're not even a running team.''

Will Barton scored 11 points for Portland and Nicolas Batum added 10. Aldridge kept the Blazers fairly competitive during the first three quarters, but his teammates combined for 24-of-70 shooting and couldn't keep up after Aldridge sat down.

''It happened on a drive to the basket against Dwight when I tried to dunk it,'' Aldridge said. ''I was exposed, and I got hit on a soft spot on my chest. I came down and I couldn't really breathe. I'm a little sore and I'll probably be worse tomorrow, but I'll be OK.''

Portland hosts Philadelphia on Saturday in its final game before the new year.

The Lakers came out with more energy and aggression than they showed in Wednesday's defense-deficient loss at Denver, hitting 14 of their first 21 shots and jumping to a 12-point lead in the first quarter. Los Angeles then made a 12-0 run to a 20-point lead shortly before halftime, with Gasol hitting a 3-pointer from straightaway to cap it.

At halftime, the Lakers retired the No. 52 jersey of Jamaal Wilkes, the Hall of Fame scorer who won three of his four NBA titles with the Lakers. Wilkes, a three-time All-Star with an unorthodox jump shot, choked up while thanking his teammates and fellow Lakers greats including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry West, Elgin Baylor and James Worthy, who all joined Wilkes for the ceremony.

NOTES: G Wesley Matthews, the Blazers' fourth-leading scorer with 15 points per game, missed his third straight game with an injured left hip. ... Gasol made a 3-pointer in his third straight game, a first in his NBA career. ... Fans received a replica Wilkes jersey at the door, and director Penny Marshall wore it in her courtside seat.

Tagged: Lakers, Trail Blazers, Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard, LaMarcus Aldridge

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by


NBA Videos

NBA considering mid-season Vegas tournament? Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Adam Silver confirms the NBA has engaged in early conversations about the possib...

LeBron and Blatt 'will work together beautifully' Posted: Jul 14, 2014
Cavaliers head coach David Blatt on LeBron James' decision to return to Clevelan...

LeBron's back and so are the Cavs Posted: Jul 11, 2014
FOX Sports 1's Gary Payton weighs-in on LeBron's decision to return to Cleveland...

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    adidas Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers Revolution 30 Performance Jersey - Red http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Clippers/browse/featuredproduct/491845/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_491000/ff_491845_xl.jpg&w=100 59.95 adidas Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers Revolution 30 Performance Jersey - Red
    adidas LeBron James Miami Heat Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey-Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Heat/browse/featuredproduct/498609/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_498000/ff_498609_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas LeBron James Miami Heat Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey-Black
    adidas Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Knicks/browse/featuredproduct/620470/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_620000/ff_620470_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 adidas Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey..
    Mitchell & Ness San Antonio Spurs Black Solid Script Snapback Adjustable Hat http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Antonio_Spurs/browse/featuredproduct/692239/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_692000/ff_692239_xl.jpg&w=100 25.95 Mitchell & Ness San Antonio Spurs Black Solid Script Snapback Adjustable Hat
    Majestic Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Logo Man T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Lakers/browse/featuredproduct/851828/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_851000/ff_851828_xl.jpg&w=100 23.95 Majestic Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Logo Man T-Shirt - Black
    Majestic Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder Logo Man T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_City_Thunder/browse/featuredproduct/851842/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_851000/ff_851842_xl.jpg&w=100 23.95 Majestic Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder Logo Man T-Shirt - White
    adidas Miami Heat 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Heat/browse/featuredproduct/890174/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_890000/ff_890174_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 adidas Miami Heat 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Wh..
    adidas Oklahoma City Thunder 2012 NBA Western Conference Champions Locker Room Flex Hat - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_City_Thunder/browse/featuredproduct/890384/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_890000/ff_890384_xl.jpg&w=100 19.99 adidas Oklahoma City Thunder 2012 NBA Western Conference Champions Locker Room F..