L.A. Lakers, 92, Portland 79
LOS ANGELES, Feb. 1 (Ticker) --
With their coach's status in question,
the Los Angeles Lakers got a big lift from Caron Butler
Butler and Odom scored six points apiece in the fourth quarter
as the Lakers pulled away for a 92-79 victory over the Portland
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Prior to the game, the Lakers confirmed that first-year coach
was considering resignation due to health
reasons, although a team spokesman said it was not related to
the bladder cancer that forced him to leave the Houston Rockets
in May 2003.
"Our prayers go out to Rudy," Butler said. "But we had to come
and play basketball, and that's what we did. Now we can go back
and see what the situation is and what's going to happen."
While with the Heat, both Butler and Odom had to deal with the
sudden retirement of coach Pat Riley prior to last season.
"When I went to Miami, I thought Pat Riley was going to be my
coach for the rest of my career," Odom said. "When I was
drafted by the Clippers and had early success, I said, 'This is
the only team I am going to play for. Why should they trade me
and why would I leave as a free agent?' It does not happen like
that. I am used to things like this. I just hope that
everything works out for the best for everyone involved."
"I learned how to put things away over the course of the year,"
Butler said. "We knew we had a situation in that our coach
wasn't here. We've heard a lot of rumors about what is going
on, but nothing is confirmed. I'm just hoping for the best."
Assistant Frank Hamblen filled in for the second consecutive
game for the Lakers, who may have been distracted early as the
Trail Blazers opened a 20-10 lead with five minutes left in the
But Los Angeles rallied to cut the deficit to 29-26 after one
period and opened the second quarter with a 15-1 run, capped by
Odom's jumper that made it 41-30 with 4:24 remaining.
Reserve Tierre Brown
had six of his career-high nine assists in
the second quarter as the Lakers took a 49-39 halftime lead.
"We had a nice flow to start the game," Portland coach Maurice Cheeks
said. "Then we went to the bench and didn't get
anything. They got some solid play from guys coming off the
Los Angeles maintained that 10-point edge in the third period
and took control with an 11-3 run to open the final quarter.
Butler sparked the burst with four points, a rebound and an
Butler had 19 points and 10 rebounds and Odom added 18 and five
assists for Los Angeles, which held Portland to 36 percent
shooting (32-of-88) -- the lowest by an opponent this season.
Reserve Zach Randolph
, playing in his third game since returning
from a knee injury, was a main reason for the Blazers'
offensive problems. He missed all 12 of his shots and did not
score in 29 minutes.
"It's just a tough night," Randolph said. "It's worse because I
haven't played. I have never played like this in my life."
"Zach couldn't score the ball tonight." Cheeks said. "There's
going to be nights when that happens."
scored 25 points and Ruben Patterson
for Portland, which has lost eight of its last 10 games.
Stoudamire vented his frustration after the game.
"I think we can get through it," Stoudamire said. "But what has
to happen in this locker room is we need people to grow up.
When you are a young player in this league and they give you
that money, there is a certain sense of responsibility that you
have, and they expect you to have a quicker learning curve."