Randolph, Blazers Slow Down Lakers
Portland 99, L.A. Lakers 93
PORTLAND, March 1 (Ticker) -- Zach Randolph and Steve Blake helped the Portland Trail Blazers get March off to a great start.
Randolph scored 20 points and Blake added 19 as the Trail Blazers snapped a six-game losing streak with a 99-93 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
"We needed a win and I think any time you beat the Lakers, it's a big win," Portland coach Nate McMillan said. "This was definitely a game you want to win in front of a big crowd. We don't see many of those. I think our (guards) played very well."
Taking advantage of the Lakers' sluggish offense in the second half, Portland took a 77-61 lead when Randolph made a layup with 56 seconds left in the third quarter. He scored 12 points in the period.
The Lakers were held without a basket for the final 4:46 of the session and got 19 of their 23 points from NBA leading scorer Kobe Bryant, who was suffering from the flu.
"I'm feeling a little achy, but it's something you gotta push through," Bryant said.
With Bryant getting a brief rest to start the fourth quarter, Brian Cook scored six points and Luke Walton added three in an 11-2 run that pulled the Lakers within 79-74 with 8:44 left.
After Smush Parker made a layup for the Lakers to cut the deficit to 92-89 with 1:39 remaining, Blake made a pair of foul shots and a jumper around a layup by Lamar Odom for a 96-91 edge with 52 seconds to go.
"They were pick-and-rolls and (center Brian Skinner) set some good screens," Blake said. "The way they were playing, the shot was open. I just wanted to take them and was able to knock them down."
Odom made a bank shot with 43 seconds to play. Blake missed a jumper before Darius Miles stripped Parker and went in for a clinching dunk with 10 seconds remaining.
"He was penetrating, and I was cheating real hard," Miles said. "I left Lamar open and I just reached. I hit all ball and it came back to me. I went down and scored the ball."
"There was a call made by the coach and we just had poor floor spacing," Parker said. "No one got to their spots and when I came up, Darius was right there. I went to pick up the ball and pass it but by then, it was too late."
Juan Dixon scored 12 points, Miles added 11 and Skinner grabbed a season-high 10 rebounds for Portland, which starts the "Texas Triangle" road trip Saturday.
"Man, it felt good to snap the losing streak," said Randolph, who made 7-of-17 shots. "This gives us a confidence boost and something to build on as we go onto this road trip. It's gonna be a battle for us in Texas."
"It was about time we got another win," Blake said. "We finally played up to our potential. We came out strong, had a good second quarter and were strong throughout the whole game."
The league's leading scorer, Bryant made just 10-of-27 shots - including 0-of-6 3-pointers - and all 15 free throws for 35 points, leaving him 10 shy of becoming the youngest player in history to reach 16,000.
"It was the hustle plays that really hurt us," Bryant said. "My guys talk about doing a better job of picking me up sometimes, (and) me not having to shoulder the load all the time. Tonight, we didn't have the energy."
"I put Kobe in a bind out there," Odom said. "He has to score 40 points just for us to win. I don't blame him for shooting 40 shots some nights. We should be embarrassed as a team. I know I am."
Odom scored 16 points and Parker added 14 for the Lakers, who were outrebounded, 42-34, and made just 2-of-16 3-pointers.
"It was a game where our rebounds and defense really failed us and eventually, I had to think about an offensive unit that could do some things to try and catch up," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "Kobe obviously wasn't right tonight, but this is the second time Blake has scored big against us in critical situations."