GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Portland Trail Blazers 7 23 36 26 92
Play by Play Los Angeles Lakers 29 23 28 23 103


Lakers ride huge 1st quarter past Blazers 103-92

By GREG BEACHAM


Posted Feb 20 2012 10:45PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) Kobe Bryant scored 28 points, Andrew Bynum had 14 points and 19 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Lakers roared to a 30-point lead early in the second quarter before holding on for a 103-92 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night.

Pau Gasol had 16 points and 12 rebounds in his first game since Bryant criticized the Lakers' front office for allowing Gasol to dangle amid trade rumors.

Neither star appeared distracted by the Lakers' latest off-court saga as Los Angeles reeled off a 37-4 run after Raymond Felton's game-opening 3-pointer for Portland.

LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum scored 18 points apiece but the Blazers couldn't quite recover from the lowest-scoring first quarter in club history, getting no closer than 10 points late in their fourth loss in six games.

The Lakers scored 21 consecutive points during that opening surge and went on to their 14th victory in the last 15 home games. One night after giving up a season-high 63 points in the first half of a discouraging loss at Phoenix, the Lakers yielded a season-low 30 to Portland.

Former Blazers guard Steve Blake hit five 3-pointers and scored 17 points in his biggest offensive game since joining the Lakers before last season.

Portland gradually trimmed the Lakers' lead to 84-74 in the fourth quarter, but Bryant and Derek Fisher returned to the lineup and hit big shots. Lakers fans briefly chanted "World Peace! World Peace!" after Metta World Peace hit four of six free throws when Portland fouled him repeatedly in the final minutes.

The Lakers showed no signs of disturbance after Bryant's postgame rant in Phoenix one night earlier. Bryant said he wished general manager Mitch Kupchak would decide whether to trade Gasol, saying nearly three months of uncertainty and rumors are affecting the Spanish 7-footer's play.

Kupchak responded by issuing a statement 45 minutes before Monday's game, saying he had to explore all trade options to improve the Lakers, even if Bryant didn't like it.

For all of the Lakers' public disagreements and inconsistent play, they're still comfortably in the Western Conference playoff picture at 19-13 near the midway point of the 66-game regular season.

Portland went scoreless for more than five minutes after Felton's 3-pointer on its opening possession, missing six straight shots. Los Angeles missed its first six shots, but quickly established dominance down low with its two 7-footers.

The Blazers' deficit got ugly while they missed 19 of 21 shots spanning the first two quarters, including another 8 minutes of scoreless play from midway through the first quarter until Batum's three-point play early in the second. Los Angeles went from a 16-7 lead to a 37-7 margin.

The first quarter also was the best defensive performance of the season by the Lakers.

Portland scored the final seven points of the first half to trim the Lakers' lead to 52-30. The Blazers finally got rolling with the Lakers up 67-39 early in the third quarter, scoring 11 straight points to start a 35-17 run.

NOTES: Bryant got his seventh technical foul of the season in the fourth quarter for punching the ball away after an offensive foul. If Bryant gets 13 Ts in this shortened season, he will be suspended for one game. ... Portland got more terrible news before the game on C Greg Oden. The former No. 1 pick had microfracture surgery on his left knee earlier Monday, keeping him out for yet another entire season. "I was told that they were basically going to go in and clean his knee," coach Nate McMillan said. "Any time you go in like that, you're looking to see if something else needs to be repaired. So when you get the call about the microfracture surgery, it's one of those `Why me?' moments. I know he's saying that." Oden hasn't played since Dec. 5, 2009. ... Fans near courtside included Ashton Kutcher, Anthony Kiedis, Robert Wuhl and directors Steven Spielberg and Michael Bay.


Copyright 2012 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited





View More Photos


Points Bryant 28, 13-26 FG
Rebounds Bynum 19, 5 OFF 14 DEF
Assists Gasol 4
Steals Bryant 4
Blocks 3 tied with 1


POSTGAME QUOTES



Mike Brown:

Lakers coach Mike Brown on tonight’s game:

“I thought our guys played a pretty good game. Obviously, when you get up big against anybody it’s tough to sustain the way that you’re playing for 48 minutes. Their team has pride in the locker room, they’ve got pros and talent. They made a run, it was good to see them make a run, but also us make a stand and get the win. I thought the first half, predominately the first quarter, we moved the basketball, we moved bodies probably about as good as we had all year. I thought the ball was hopping from player to player, nobody held on to it for an extended period of time and we ended up getting great looks and it was fun to watch. I also thought our two bigs, coming up with 31 rebounds between the two of them, had a tremendous game. Andrew [Bynum] with 19 and Pau [Gasol] with 12. And then Steve Blake off our bench, I thought our bench gave us some solid minutes, with Steve Blake stepping up and knocking down the three the way he did, really opened it up for everybody. It made the game much easier when we were able to knock down shots, especially in that first half. It was a good win because we didn’t lose sight of what got us there, which was on the defensive end of the floor, holding a team like that to 92 points on 41% shooting, especially after giving up 100 plus at their place last time we played them.”

Lakers coach Mike Brown on yesterday’s loss versus tonight’s win:

“The bottom line is we have to defend. It doesn’t matter where we are, whether we’re at home or on the road, doesn’t matter if we’re gone six straight days or had three days off, that’s who we are. We’re not necessarily a team that’s going to get out and run up and down the floor and get easy baskets and all that stuff. If we understand how to play the game the way we’re capable of, we’ll get a lot of wins. It starts defensively, and I said this even though we got beat yesterday, I really feel like we’re improving offensively. We’re not quite to the level where I think we’re going to be at at the end of the day, but we’re getting better.”

Lakers coach Mike Brown on the team’s energy on offense and defense:

“It’s what I think we’re capable of doing. I see us playing that way down the stretch, but we just have to keep learning each other. I have to keep learning the players, they have to keep learning me, they have to keep learning each other and what we’re trying to accomplish out on the floor. The way that they played offensively, moving that ball and moving the bodies, and the energy that they brought at the other end of the floor is something that I think we’re capable of doing. And hopefully sooner rather than later we’ll be capable of doing it just about every night we step on the floor.”

Lakers coach Mike Brown on holding the Trail Blazers to a 7 point first quarter:

“I think it’s a combination of both [our defense and their shooting]. I’d like to believe that we did some nice things defensively. As we were watching the game there weren’t too many times where I thought we made a mistake defensively, where we blew a coverage. And then I also thought just about every shot they took we contested, even if we were late or we had no chance of blocking it, we still tried to contest every shot that they took. And then we limited them to one rebound, even though they were missing shot after shot after shot. So, I’d like to say that our defense had something to do with it, but obviously those guys are pros and they probably missed some shots too.”




Kobe Bryant

Lakers’ Kobe Bryant on how team performed in the first half tonight:

“We had great energy and we have to make sure we all understand we’re all in the foxhole together. We’re going to go out there and perform, play well, play hard for each other and win for each other.”

Lakers’ Kobe Bryant on how team can carry this type of play over to the road:

“We just have to respond to the challenge. Yesterday, we responded in the second half and did a great job. In the first half, it just wasn’t good. We were very lethargic and didn’t play as hard. In the second half, we came out, did our job and it carried over to this game. We have to go into Dallas with the same type of attitude and intensity.”




Pau Gasol:

Lakers’ Pau Gasol on the team’s defensive play in the first quarter:

“Obviously they didn’t shoot the ball well. But we were aggressive, active and we were getting deflections. We had some really good energy in that first quarter and it paid off.”

Lakers’ Pau Gasol on his recent play:

“I’m just trying to play hard and contribute as much as possible. I’m glad that I’ve been able to have such regular performances even though I’d like to shoot the ball a little better but I’m rebounding well, I’m active, working hard and helping my team out.”




Andrew Bynum:

Lakers’ Andrew Bynum on how the team can play better on the road:

“I think we just have to go out there and play with confidence and get rest. We get rest, we’re good.”

Lakers Andrew Bynum on last night’s away game compared to playing at home tonight:

“It’s tough to beat a team three straight times especially when you’re playing them again (back-to-back). They were home this time so they probably felt a little bit better about themselves. We just got to come out and play, like I said, if we play with confidence, we’ll be fine. If we don’t we struggle.”

Lakers Andrew Bynum on the team’s ball movement in the first quarter:

“In the first quarter, Kobe and I did a good job of passing out of the double team. If we can move freely, we’ll be fine.”

Lakers Andrew Bynum on why the team was successful tonight:

“I think we had rest. We didn’t stand on our feet all day. I think we have a veteran team now and really we just need to come in and work on our coverages and hopefully everything will work itself out.”




Nate McMillan:

Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan on tonight’s game:

“I thought that tonight we didn’t come here ready to play. It kind of felt like we started the All Star break tonight and did not come out focused and ready to play. There’s no excuse for that first half and we knew that this team would come out, be aggressive, and play hard after the way the way they played and lost last night. But, I just didn’t feel that we came ready to play tonight.”

Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan on the team’s comeback in the fourth quarter:

“It was a big hill to climb and when you dig a hole for yourself like that; you’re down by 22 in the first quarter and you score seven points in the first quarter. I thought that the first two or three minutes we had some opportunities to score and we didn’t do that. Then they just basically ran whatever they wanted, got whatever they wanted, uncontested shots as well as offensive boards. At the half it was about just really playing it and not embarrassing yourself. We’re better than that, we know that and there’s no excuse for that.”

Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan on the team’s effort:

“I know that that effort we saw here tonight, we’re better than that and there was no reason for that type of game against a very good team. I don’t think it was so much what they did, it’s what we were going in. Again, we’re better than that.”




Gerald Wallace:

Trail Blazers’ Gerald Wallace on the loss:

“They showed us why they’re the Lakers. They took advantage and control in the first (quarter), and they kept control for the whole game.”

Trail Blazers’ Gerald Wallace on getting in a hole in the 1st half:

“They attacked us and we didn’t attack them. They did to us what we wanted to do to them and that was to get out in transition and run, attack the rim, and force turnovers. Everything we wanted to do to them, they did to us in the first quarter. They forced us to take jump shots.”




Marcus Camby:

Trail Blazers’ Marcus Camby on getting in a hole in the 1st half:

“We didn’t hit any shots in the first half. I thought we played a whole lot better in the second half, but when you play with a 22 point cushion it’s really hard to come back. They’re a great team. Come playoff time they’re going to be a tough out. They’re bigs are playing well, and Kobe is Kobe so you can’t count the Lakers out.”

Trail Blazers’ Marcus Camby on the team’s struggles on the road:

“Our focus all year on the road hasn’t been where it needs to be. We’re a great team at home but when we get on the road it seems like we don’t play with the same energy and aggression that we need. That’s something we’ve been talking about all season long. Hopefully we can correct that after this long all-star break. […] We can’t rely on the Rose Garden crowd every night to carry us.”




LaMarcus Aldridge:

Trail Blazers’ LaMarcus Aldridge on the play of the Laker bigs:

“They dominated the inside with their bigs. We sat down and went small but they kept their bigs in. Their bigs got involved early.”

Trail Blazers’ LaMarcus Aldridge on the team’s struggles on the road:

“We have to have everyone ready. We all have to be ready to play our best game. We need everyone on the road and tonight it wasn’t there.”






Trail Blazers-Lakers Preview

By ALAN FERGUSON


Posted Feb 19 2012 10:42PM

Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant was unhappy about more than just his team's poor performance in its most recent game.

Given the recent dominance at home against Portland, a visit from the Trail Blazers on Monday night might help Bryant put aside his conflict with management and help the Lakers bounce back from that disappointing effort.

Los Angeles (18-13) trailed by 27 points in the third quarter before attempting to rally in a 102-90 defeat in Phoenix on Sunday. The loss wasn't the only thing that rankled Bryant, who scored 32 points but also committed an NBA season-high 10 turnovers.

He also expressed his dissatisfaction with the Lakers' treatment of Pau Gasol. The forward's name has been in trade rumors for much of this season, and Bryant is seeking closure for his teammate, who is averaging a career-low 16.6 points.

"I wish management would come out and either trade him or not trade him," Bryant said. "It's tough for a player to give his all when you don't know if you're going to be here tomorrow. I'd rather them not trade him at all. If they're going to do something, I wish they would just ... do it. If they're not going to do it, come out and say you're not going to do it."

With no clear plans on Gasol's future, the Lakers will try to bounce back by adding to its mastery of Portland (17-15) at Staples Center. Los Angeles has won 16 of the past 19 matchups there.

The Lakers, though, have also suffered consecutive defeats in the series, including a 107-96 road loss Jan. 5. Gerald Wallace scored a season-high 31 points and LaMarcus Aldridge added 28 for Portland in that victory.

Bryant, meanwhile, finished with 30 points while still dealing with a torn ligament in his right wrist.

That win clinched a 5-1 start for the Blazers, but they're 12-14 since that game. They're also 5-10 on the road, but are coming off one of their most lopsided wins this season, 97-77 over visiting Atlanta on Saturday.

Nicolas Batum continued his strong play as a starter with 22 points, and Raymond Felton had 14 points after failing to score during a 74-71 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday. Aldridge scored 19 after missing the previous two games with a sprained left ankle.

Over his previous 12 games, Felton had averaged 8.3 points while making just 32.8 percent of his attempts but credited his work with a shooting coach for Thursday's performance.

"It felt good, and I think everybody else was happy with it as well," Felton said.

Batum, meanwhile, has averaged 22.8 points on 52.9 percent shooting over his four consecutive starts. He had a team-best 25 points in Portland's previous road game against the Lakers, an 84-80 loss March 20.

Bryant had 10 of his team-leading 22 points during the fourth quarter of that win and enters this game having topped 30 points in consecutive contests. He's averaged 28.3 points in his last four games against the Blazers, but was held to 17.0 on 38.7 percent shooting during the two matchups at Staples Center last season.

Wallace, who has a combined 16 points in the past two games, has averaged 9.3 in nine all-time road games against the Lakers.

Aldridge's 13.0-point average at Staples last season was his second-worst in an opposing building. He averaged 12.5 points in two games at San Antonio's AT&T Center.


Copyright 2012 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited
Probable Starters
  Lakers    
  #15 World Peace SF #3 Wallace  
  #16 Gasol PF #12 Aldridge  
  #17 Bynum C #23 Camby  
  #24 Bryant SG #88 Batum  
  #2 Fisher PG #5 Felton  



Lakers Steve Blake
(costochaondral fracture) is probable.

Greg Oden
(left knee) will not play.


Game 1: 1/5 - LAL @ POR L 96-107
Game 2: 2/20 - POR @ LAL
Game 3: 3/23 - POR @ LAL


GAME NOTES

SEASON & SERIES NOTES; CONNECTIONS
The Lakers trail the season series with Portland 0-1 after winning last season’s series 3-1, marking their first season series victory against the Trail Blazers since 2004-05 and overall, just the third since 1989 (2004-05: 2-1 and 1992-93: 3-2). This will be the 201st meeting between the Trail Blazers and Lakers with Los Angeles leading the alltime series 112-88. The Lakers are 4-6 against the Trail Blazers in their last 10 overall games. At STAPLES Center, the Lakers are 17-5 against the Trail Blazers alltime and have won 7-of-their- last-8 in Los Angeles. Despite snapping a 9-game losing streak at the Rose Garden in February of 2010 (2/6/10 at Portland, first win there since 2/23/05), the Lakers are still just 4-17 in their last 21 regular season games in Rip City including a 2-8 mark in their last 10. In recent series history, the Lakers held the Blazers to their lowest scoring total in series history with a 96-76 opening night victory in 2008 (10/28/08). In 2006-07, Kobe Bryant scored 65 points March 16 at STAPLES Center, surpassing his own series record of 50 points established at home back on April 14, 2006 (the same day Bryant surpassed Elgin Baylor’s single-season franchise scoring record of 2,719 points). In 53 career games against Portland including 47 starts, Kobe Bryant is averaging 27.4 points against the Blazers. In his last 22 regular season games against the Blazers, however, Bryant has upped his average against Portland to 31.5 points per game (693).


KOBE BRYANT BECOMES NINTH GUARD IN NBA HISTORY TO ACCUMULATE 6,000 REBOUNDS
With nine rebounds in the Lakers 111-99 victory over Phoenix 2/17 at STAPLES Center, Kobe Bryant (6,005 career rebounds) became the ninth guard in NBA history to accumulate 6,000 rebounds (includes players listed as G, G/F or F/G). Jason Kidd, the only guard in league history to amass 8,000 rebounds, tops the list, with Oscar Robertson (G), Scottie Pippen (F/G) and Chet Walker (F/G) the only other guards to post at least 7,000+ rebounds. Magic Johnson (6,559) leads all Lakers guards in career rebounds while Michael Jordan is another notable guard on the list with 6,672 career rebounds.

BRYANT PASSES SHAQUILLE O’NEAL FOR 5th ON NBA’S ALL-TIME SCORING LIST
With a 23-foot jumper at the 5:08 mark in the second quarter 2/6 at Philadelphia, Kobe Bryant moved past Shaquille O’Neal (28,596) for fifth on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Last season, Kobe Bryant moved past Hall-of-Famers Moses Malone (27,409) 3/8/11 at Atlanta, Elvin Hayes (27,313) 2/27/11 at Oklahoma City, Hakeem Olajuwon (26,946) 1/28/11 vs. Sacramento, Oscar Robertson (26,710) 1/7/11 vs. New Orleans, Dominique Wilkins (26,668) 1/4/11 vs. Detroit and John Havlicek (26,395) 12/10/10 at Chicago on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Next on the all-time list ahead of Bryant (28,601) are Wilt Chamberlain (4th/31,419), Michael Jordan (3rd/32,292), Karl Malone (2nd/36,928) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1st/38,387). Among the top six scorers in NBA history, five have worn the Lakers uniform.

Bryant has been steadily moving up the list over the past few years. In 2009-10, he passed Alex English (25,613), Reggie Miller (25,279), Jerry West (25,192), Patrick Ewing (24,815) and Allen Iverson (24,368). In passing West with a slam dunk at the 4:14 mark of the third quarter February 1, 2010 at Memphis, finishing the game with 44 points (West’s retired number), Bryant became the leading scorer in Lakers franchise history. In 2008-09, Bryant passed Gary Payton (21,813) and Hall-of-Famers Charles Barkley (23,757), Robert Parish (23,334), Adrian Dantley (23,177), Elgin Baylor (23,149), Clyde Drexler (22,195) and Larry Bird (21,791).


BYNUM RECORDS SECOND CAREER 20-20 GAME
On February 6th at Philadelphia, Andrew Bynum totaled 20 points (8-13 FG) and 20 rebounds, marking his second career 20-point, 20-rebound game (3rd career 20+ rebound game). Bynum’s other 20-20 game came earlier this season on January 3rd, when Bynum totaled 21 points (8-15 FG) and 22 rebounds as the Lakers defeated the Houston Rockets 108-99 at STAPLES Center, becoming the youngest Laker to do so (24 years, 68 days) since Rudy LaRuso tallied 30 points and 21 rebounds on February 26, 1961 at the age of 23 years, 107 days. Bynum’s only other 20+ rebound game came on 4/5/11 vs. Utah, when he grabbed a career-high 23 rebounds. The last Laker to record a 20-20 game prior to Bynum was Pau Gasol, who posted 30 points and 20 rebounds on February 16, 2011 at Cleveland.


DOMINATING THE GLASS, BUT LOSING THE GAME
In the Lakers 95-90 loss at Philadelphia on February 6, the Lakers out-rebounded the 76ers 55-30, marking the first time the Lakers lost despite out-rebounding their opponent by 25-plus rebounds since they out-rebounded New Jersey 55-28 in a 109-103 loss to the Nets at STAPLES Center on 1/28/05. The last time any team lost when out-rebounding their opponent by 25-plus rebounds occurred on 3/11/09 at Detroit, when the Pistons out-rebounded New York 64-39, but fell to the Knicks 116-111.







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