Notebook: Blazers 116, Lakers 106



Posted Nov 1, 2012 8:39 AM

By Kerry Eggers, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: Nicolas Batum scored 26 points and got plenty of help from his teammates as Portland bounced Los Angeles in the Trail Blazers' season opener Wednesday night at the Rose Garden. It was the second loss in as many nights for the Lakers, who fell 99-91 at Dallas on Tuesday night in their opener. Dwight Howard collected 33 points, 14 rebounds and five assists and Kobe Bryant bombed in 30 points for the losers.

QUOTABLE: "We want to be a surprise team. We want to do something this year. It was a good first win. Eighty-one (games) remaining. It's a long season. We put it behind us now."
--Blazers forward Nicolas Batum

THE STAT: Rookie point guard Damian Lillard scored 23 points and dished out 11 assists in his NBA debut. He is only the third player in NBA history (Oscar Robertson in 1960 and Isiah Thomas in 1981) to score at least 20 points and dish out at least 10 assists in his first NBA game.

TURNING POINT: Portland led 79-76 late in the third quarter when reserve forward Sasha Pavlovic keyed a 13-0 run with seven straight points, giving the Blazers a 92-76 lead going into the final period.

QUOTABLE II: "We're trying to figure out how to pick each other up out there on the floor. We're not the quickest team in the world. A lot of teams have very quick point guards and quick wings. We just have to work on supporting each other and keeping the ball out of the paint and (opponents) away from the rim."
--Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, on the Laker defensive inefficiencies in the first two games

HOT: Portland shooting guard Wesley Matthews was 7-for-11, including 4-for-6 from 3-point range.

NOT: The Lakers got very little from their bench. Steve Blake — who played with the starters through most of the second half — was 3-for-4. The rest of L.A.'s reserves combined to shoot 2-for-11.

GOOD MOVE: It was sound strategy for Portland's big men to foul Howard whenever he got the ball in good post position. Howard — 3-for-14 from the line in the Dallas game — was 15-for-19 shots at the line Wednesday night, but didn't get free for many dunks or layups.

BAD MOVE: The Lakers were loose with the ball at times, a factor in their 25 turnovers. Bryant had seven and Metta World Peace had six giveaways.

NOTABLE: Steve Nash left the game early in the third quarter with a left leg contusion and didn't return. Said the veteran Laker point guard: "I got kicked in the lower leg and got a nasty little contusion. I thought it would be OK, but I couldn't push off or decelerate laterally."

UP NEXT: For the Lakers, Friday vs. the L.A. Clippers, Sunday vs. Detroit, Wednesday @ Utah. For the Trail Blazers, Friday @ Oklahoma City, Saturday @ Houston, Monday @ Dallas.