PORTLAND, Ore., Feb. 23 (Ticker) -- Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers finally have a three-game winning streak.

Bryant scored 12 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter and the Lakers held on for an 86-83 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.

NBA TV highlights from
Despite holding a 27-24 record entering the day and the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, the Lakers had yet to record three wins in a row all season. They failed 10 previous times when given a chance to notch a third straight victory.

"We finally got that monkey off our back," Bryant said. "Now we can move on and welcome the defending champions at the STAPLES Center."

Los Angeles hosts Detroit on Friday.

"I don't want to hear anything about three in a row anymore, OK?" Lakers interim coach Frank Hamblen said. "It was a big win for us on the road. It would be great if we could win seven or eight in a row, but right now we'll just go one game at a time."

Los Angeles is 3-1 since Bryant returned from a severely sprained right ankle prior to the All-Star break and leaned heavily on him against the Trail Blazers.

Midway through the third quarter, Bryant had 19 points but just one assist as the Lakers faced their largest deficit, 58-51. He hit a basket to begin a 10-0 run that put Los Angeles ahead to stay and assisted on five of the team's next 10 baskets.

"We get up seven points and then we miss a couple of shots and they come down and Kobe makes incredible shots again," Trail Blazers coach Maurice Cheeks said. "From then on, we were battling upstream."

With the ball in Bryant's hands down the stretch, the seven-time All-Star scored the Lakers' last 10 points, including eight on free throws to cap a 13-of-13 effort from the line.

Portland scored seven consecutive points in the closing moments and had a chance to tie the game on its final possession. But Damon Stoudamire forced a 3-point attempt and Shareef Abdur-Rahim missed another as the buzzer sounded.

"We just tried to corral Stoudamire because he had made some big shots," Bryant said. "The ball kicked out to Shareef and he had a good look. It just didn't go in for him."

Stoudamire scored 25 points and Abdur-Rahim, who was activated from the injured list earlier in the day, added 16 off the bench.

"Shareef is a terrific player," Cheeks said. "We have to find ways to get him minutes. He was good tonight after being off for six weeks."

Abdur-Rahim and Joel Przybilla shot a combined 6-of-9 in the first half while the rest of the Blazers were just 6-of-33, helping the Lakers take a 43-39 lead into the break.

"About the only thing that kept them in the game in the first half is that we fouled them so much," Hamblen said. "We put them to the line so darn much (14-of-17), it kept it a four-point game at half."

Przybilla scored 10 points and gathered nine rebounds in the first quarter but had just five points and one board thereafter.

Portland has lost five of six and faces missing the playoffs for a second straight season after earning a postseason berth each of the previous 21 campaigns.

"This is not the end, but it is a dagger," Cheeks said. "We realize we have to win games. Certainly we are not done, but we can't afford to stumble."