Trail Blazers Top Lakers Despite Bryant’s 41
Portland 113, L.A. Lakers 103
PORTLAND, Ore., Jan. 11 (Ticker) -- Unlike superstar Kobe Bryant, the Portland Trail Blazers aren't used to putting up big scoring numbers.
The Trail Blazers overcame 41 points from Bryant by getting 27 from Juan Dixon and 21 off the bench from Ruben Patterson as they ended a six-game losing streak with a 113-103 triumph over the Los Angeles Lakers.
Portland's season-best offensive output marked the first time it reached the 100-point plateau at home and just the second time this season. In the last four games of their recent slide, the Trail Blazers did not score more than 89 points.
"We've struggled the last six games not getting any wins, so we wanted to come out with a lot of heart and be aggressive on both ends of the floor," said Dixon, who shot 10-of-16 from the floor. "Guys came out and we executed. Before the game, coach (Nate McMillan) drew a big heart on the chalkboard. He wanted to see what we were made of. We came out and played well tonight."
Following Sunday's 118-89 home loss to Miami, McMillan ripped the team for its lack of effort, accusing them of quitting. He had nothing but praise for his team Wednesday.
"Defensively, we worked really hard -- only 10 turnovers -- and we controlled the boards and I thought we got a lot of loose balls," McMillan said. "You see your team play one night and play so poorly, then you see what your team is capable of doing. We just played a solid game. Steve (Blake) ran a great game for us."
Blake had 19 points, nine assists and zero turnovers while sharing defensive duties with Patterson on Bryant.
"Any time you win a tough game after a bad stretch it feels good," said Blake, who shot 7-of-10 from the floor. "We knew we had some things to work on and we focused on that. Tonight we concentrated on the Lakers and we got the win."
"They played extremely well," Bryant said of the Blazer guards. "When they had the opportunities to make shots, they knocked them down. By them doing that, they kept the floor spaced, kept us honest defensively. They did a great job."
Bryant entered the contest as the league's leading scorer and had reached the 45-point plateau in each of his last four games. His 23 first-half points helped Los Angeles trail just 59-58 at the break. The Blazers led, 72-71, midway through the third period when they went on an 8-0 burst, capped by a follow shot from Viktor Khryapa with 4:52 remaining.
"When you have guys like Dixon and Blake basically have career nights, that really sets you on the edge as a team," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "We didn't come out with the intent to play defense tonight."
Los Angeles got as close as 89-83 with 10:49 to go. However, the Lakers could not get stops and were plagued by poor shooting down the stretch. Bryant made just 3-of-11 shots in the fourth quarter, including 1-of-6 from the arc. His teammates did not fare much better as the Lakers sank only 8-of-21 shots in the final period.
"Obviously when the threes aren't going it's time to stop shooting them," Jackson added. "We kept going to it and got desperate at the end trying to hit home runs. We can't do that."
Lamar Odom scored 15 points for Los Angeles, which had a three-game winning streak snapped.
"It may be a step backward but sometimes you have to take a step backward before you can go forward," Bryant said. "We've played pretty well the last three games, now we have to bounce back and get ready for (Thursday) night (against Cleveland)."