Portland 101, L.A. Lakers 99
PORTLAND, Ore., April 13 (Ticker) --
Just when it appeared the Los
Angeles Lakers were about to climb into the upper half of the
Western Conference bracket, Rasheed Wallace
shot them down.
NBA TV highlights from|
Wallace's 3-pointer with 3.6 seconds remaining provided the
fourth lead change in less than a minute and gave the Portland
Trail Blazers a badly needed 101-99 victory over the Lakers, who
had a six-game winning streak snapped.
The Lakers, Trail Blazers and Minnesota Timberwolves all began
play Sunday with 31 losses in pursuit of fourth place in the
West and home-court advantage in the first round of the
The three-time defending champion Lakers held the tiebreakers
and could claim fourth place by winning out. They appeared
poised to extend their winning streak when Kobe Bryant
around a pick and sank an 18-footer for a 99-98 lead with 34
seconds to play.
The Blazers, who have lost to the Lakers in each of the last
three postseasons, had other ideas. Damon Stoudamire
jumper, but the rebound was tapped out to Derek Anderson
nine seconds left. The ball swung right to left around the arc
to Wallace, who had been just 1-of-5 from 3-point range.
"Guys stepped up to the challenge today," Wallace said in an
on-court TV interview. "They're the world champs. If you're
not gonna step up to that challenge, what's gonna get you revved
The Lakers had a chance to tie or win, but Bryant was bottled up
30 feet from the basket and fired a shot that sailed off the
"Everyone knew that Kobe was going to take the last shot,"
Blazers coach Maurice Cheeks said. "During the last timeout, I
asked a lady in the stands, and the lady said Kobe was going to
get the ball. Everyone knew Kobe was going to get the ball. We
just had to guard him, that's all."
The Blazers (49-31) moved one game ahead of the Lakers (48-32)
into fifth place in the West, one-half game behind Minnesota
(50-31). Portland hosts Phoenix and visits the Los Angeles
Clippers; the Lakers host Denver and visit Golden State; and
Minnesota travels to Memphis.
"It's still the regular season," Wallace said. "We still got
two more games. We gotta finish the season out and carry this
momentum into the playoffs."
scored 29 points and Wallace added 21 for the
Blazers, who are virtually assured of not meeting the Lakers in
the first round and still have a chance to claim the fourth
"Coach got us together yesterday in practice and told us we need
this win and where it was going to take us going into the
playoffs," Wells said.
Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal
scored 36 points each but were the
only players in double figures for the Lakers, who face a
daunting task as they begin their quest for a fourth straight
championship. Since the playoffs expanded to 16 teams in 1984,
the 1995 Houston Rockets are the only team to win the title
without having home-court advantage in any series.
"We have two games to get sharp, but wherever we end up is where
we end up," O'Neal said. "It would have been really important
for us to win this game and it would have guaranteed the fourth
"It would be nice to have home-court advantage, but if we don't
we're not going to panic," Bryant said.
Portland never trailed in the first 40 minutes, leading by as
many as 13 points. But there were eight lead changes and a tie
in the final seven minutes.
"It was good to be in a game like that, too, before the
playoffs," Stoudamire said. "It was good to see the electricity
in the fans. It was an exciting game to be playing in."
and Wells traded 3-pointers, leaving the Blazers with
a 96-92 lead with 1:22 to go. But Bryant sank a 3-pointer and
George made two free throws, giving the Lakers a 97-96 edge with
1:01 left. Wallace made a 16-footer over the 7-2 O'Neal just
16 seconds later.
A jumper by Arvydas Sabonis
gave Portland an 81-72 lead with
9:29 remaining. Bryant scored eight points in a 10-0 burst that
gave LA its first lead at 82-81 with 7:06 to play.
The teams traded the lead three times before a free throw by
O'Neal tied it at 85-85 5:41 remaining. Wells, who scored 11
points in the last seven minutes, answered with a three-point
Anderson had 18 points and eight assists and Dale Davis
down 11 rebounds for Portland, which shot 52 percent (41-of-79)
from the field and held a 37-32 edge on the boards.
George scored nine points for the Lakers, who shot 51 percent
(33-of-65) but fell to 2-2 against the Blazers this season.
Bryant picked up two fouls in the first five minutes and took an
early seat. Anderson scored 10 points in the first quarter as
Portland opened a 30-23 lead.
Bryant managed just four points in the first half as the Lakers
- relying almost exclusively on O'Neal's 24 points - fell into a
52-43 hole. But Bryant scored 13 points in the third period,
when LA pulled within a point.