GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Portland Trail Blazers 19 29 22 26 96
Play by Play Los Angeles Lakers 30 23 18 32 103


Sessions, Bynum power Lakers over Blazers

By Associated Press


Posted Mar 23 2012 10:35PM


LOS ANGELES (AP) Andrew Bynum had 28 points and nine rebounds, point guard Ramon Sessions had 20 points and 11 assists in his first start for the Lakers, and Los Angeles beat the Portland Trail Blazers 103-96 on Friday night.

Kobe Bryant scored 18 points for the Lakers, who finished with a season-high 33 assists and increased their Pacific Division lead to 3 1/2 games over the idle Clippers. Pau Gasol had 16 rebounds and 10 points.

Sessions played his fifth game since the Lakers obtained him from Cleveland along with Christian Eyenga on March 15 for Luke Walton and Jason Kapono. The fifth-year veteran made his first three shots and was 6 for 10 from the field in 35 minutes after averaging 25 minutes, 12 points and six assists in his four games off the bench.

Sessions became the first Lakers point guard to record a double-double since Jan. 11, 2009, when Fisher had 13 points and 11 assists in 42 1/2 minutes against the Miami Heat in a 108-105 victory at Staples Center.

Steve Blake went back to a reserve role, scoring two points in 18 minutes. He started the previous four games following the departure of Fisher at the trading deadline, averaging almost 23 minutes and totaling just five points and 13 assists while shooting 2 for 12.

LaMarcus Aldridge led the Trail Blazers with 29 points on 12-for-18 shooting and grabbed nine rebounds. Forward J.J. Hickson made his Blazers debut after being claimed off waivers from Sacramento on Wednesday, scoring 14 points in 22 minutes.

Portland trailed by as many as 12 late in the first quarter before Wesley Matthews tied it 48-all on a 3-pointer late in the second, capping the Blazers' 18-6 run, but they never did take the lead.

Jamal Crawford had a chance to put Portland ahead with 25 seconds left in the third, but missed a 19-footer. He got another chance to give the Blazers the lead, but Matt Barnes hustled back after a Lakers turnover and blocked Crawford's fast-break layup with 9:57 left in the game.

Barnes then hit a 3-pointer 43 seconds later, and the Lakers eventually were able to put the stubborn Blazers away - but not before Portland cut the martin to a single point three different times on 3-pointers by Crawford, Matthews and Raymond Felton during a 4-minute stretch.

It was the third game this season in which the Lakers never trailed. The other two were against Minnesota.

Los Angeles led 53-48 at halftime, getting a combined 29 points from Bryant and Bynum to help offset 21 by Aldridge. The Blazers' forward made 10 of 12 shots in the half. Neither Gasol nor and Metta World Peace, the Lakers' starting forwards, had any points in the opening quarter. But Bryant made five of his first six shots to help Los Angeles take a 30-19 lead into the second.

Notes: Bryant has 29,235 points and needs 43 more to overtake Michael Jordan for second place on the career list for most points scored with one franchise during the regular season. Karl Malone, who ended his career with the Lakers in 2003-04 after 18 seasons with Utah, had 36,374 points with the Jazz. ... The Lakers began a stretch in which they will play six of seven at home. They are 20-4 at Staples Center, including a loss to the Clippers in which the Lakers were the designated visiting team. ... Sessions is playing for his fourth NBA team in five years. In his 89 previous NBA starts, he averaged 14.8 points and 7.4 assists. He made a career-high 39 starts in 2008-09 with Milwaukee, and 38 with the Cavaliers last season. ... Bryant is averaging 27.2 points in 17 games against the Trail Blazers since scoring 65 against them in a 116-111 overtime win at Staples Center on March 16, 2007 - the first of four consecutive games in which he scored 50 or more en route to his second straight scoring title. Bryant is vying for a third with a league-best 28.5. ... Bryant was 5 for 17 from the field. The Lakers are 8-1 when he's attempted fewer than 20 shots. They are 26-18 this season when Bryant misses at least 10 shots, and 1-7 when he's missed more than 16 in a game. ... Portland is 2-3 since Kaleb Canales replaced Nate McMillan as head coach and starters Marcus Camby and Gerald Wallace were traded. ... Portland was 8 for 20 on free throws, one night after converting all 25 attempts in a 97-93 home win against Memphis.


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

Lakers take on the Portland Trail Blazers Friday, March 23rd at Staples Center at 7:30PM. Catch all the action on Fox Sports West and 710ESPN.







View More Photos


Points Bynum 28, 12-20 FG
Rebounds Gasol 16, 2 OFF 14 DEF
Assists Sessions 11
Steals 6 tied with 1
Blocks Barnes 3


POSTGAME QUOTES



Mike Brown:

Lakers coach Mike Brown on the defensive strategy in the first and second half:
“I thought we were fairly decent defensively. We try to pride ourselves on not double teaming anybody in the post but the way [Aldridge] was going we had to start double teaming him and it helped out in the first half. In the second half, we stayed with it early on then they hit a corner three and we went away from it. We guarded the rest of the game in single coverage. It was good to see bounce back from [Aldridge’s] first half."

Lakers coach Mike Brown on the success of the Lakers’ offense:
“Our guys did a heck of a job attacking the clock, our spacing was great, our ball reversal was great and we were aggressive at the right time. I can’t make too many complaints offensively.”

Lakers coach Mike Brown on Ramon Sessions:
“Sessions did a great job controlling the tempo for us. He’s shooting the ball well and to have a double double in 35 minutes is not bad.”




Andrew Bynum:

Lakers’ Andrew Bynum on fun dynamic of team:
“I changed my attitude, I was too worked up about missing a shot or making a turnover but you have got to remember that it’s a game and it’s a game that we all can play well. You just go and have fun. That’s all that I’m doing right now and it’s just liberating and it’s free.”

Lakers’ Andrew Bynum on being double teamed:
“With the double teams, the way Dallas did it was actually very crazy but we made shots and made them pay. Tonight, they waited for me to get going and then they started coming with it. I was able to pass the ball and find a couple of teammates. With the double team it’s all about seeing where they are coming from and knowing where your teammates are, knowing where your bailouts are.”




Pau Gasol:

Lakers’ Pau Gasol on Ramon Sessions:
“He is definitely doing very well. He’s a great pick and roll player; speed, size ability to drive right and drive left. He’s shooting jumpers consistently and making them so he’s getting more comfortable and more used to our offense, the strengths of our players. He did very well tonight, nice double-double and 20,11.”




Ramon Sessions:

Lakers’ Ramon Sessions on if his performance tonight can be expected consistently:
“We expect to win. I can’t really say what the numbers will be night in and night out. It was just one of those nights where I was just feeding off Pau, Bynum and Kobe. They make my job a lot easier out there. Everybody is paying those guys a lot of attention. I just sneak around and take what they give me.”

Lakers’ on Ramon Sessions on the team’s ball movement tonight that resulted in 33 assists:
“It’s something that’s been brought up. It’s one of those things that when you move the ball like that, it’s tough to lose games in this league. When you get to moving the ball, it’s tough to guard us.”

Lakers’ Ramon Sessions on why the game was closer than the stats indicated:
“Portland was playing hard. They’re one of those teams that don’t give up and we just kept battling. We were able to get one or two more stops than them and get one or two more buckets on the offensive end, which was good for us. But they kept battling. It was closer than it looked.”

Lakers’ Ramon Sessions on how he has been able to adjust to the team’s system this quickly:
“Just playing my game no matter who I’m out there with. The guys in here believe in me and tell me to be aggressive and play my game. It’s one of those things where you have to keep being aggressive and be ready to go.”




Kobe Bryant:

Lakers’ Kobe Bryant on team’s ball movement tonight and how Sessions’ role in it:
“He’s a big part of it. He can get into the paint and he’s creating opportunities fore verybody else. Also offensively, we’re executing extremely well and we’re running things with more continuity.”

Lakers’ Kobe Bryant on why the game was so close tonight despite the stats:
“They made a lot of shots. We were just trying to play the percentages and make them take contested shots and we did that. They just happened to make them.”

Lakers’ Kobe Bryant on how the team can build on this performance:
“We just have to continue to do what we do. Offensively, we’ll have nights like this, but we have to continue to hang our hats on the defensive end of the floor. LaMarcus cut us up pretty good all night long and we have to do a much better job of not letting one player beat us.”

Lakers’ Kobe Bryant on if he’s surprised at how well Sessions has adjusted to the team’s system:
“No, we’re a pretty easy team to play with. We got guys that space the floor extremely well and high IQ guys. With the talent level that he has, it’s a pretty easy transition for him.”




Kaleb Canales:

Trail Blazers coach Kaleb Canales on tonight’s loss:
“Good basketball team, played good basketball. I thought Sessions hit a big time shot down the stretch. I thought for the most part, the numbers say we gave up 17 offensive rebounds, but in the second half I thought we did a good job keeping them off the boards. And there was that 50-50 ball that we didn’t get to, but you know, we played a good team tonight.”

Trail Blazers coach Kaleb Canales on LaMarcus Aldridge’s performance:
“He’s our All-Star, he’s our go to guy. We’re going to keep playing through him. He’s in a read and react decision making [process] and I thought he made great decisions tonight. We just came up a little short.”

Trail Blazers coach Kaleb Canales on what the team will take away from tonight’s game:
“We committed to each other about competing and I thought we did that tonight. We committed to each other about playing together and staying in the moment. We’ve got to look forward to practice tomorrow and then our next game.”

Trail Blazers coach Kaleb Canales on the team dynamic:
“We believe in all our players. We came out tonight and were staying in the moment, trying to control what we can control...And we just came up a little short.”




Lamarcus Aldridge:

Trail Blazers’ LaMarcus Aldridge on putting Bynum’s size in perspective:
“Imagine guarding a guy who’s 7’2” with a high release that probably shoots it at about nine feet in the air when the rim is at 10 feet, weighs about 275 pounds, and can move. That’s putting it into words. He’s a really good talent down there.”

Trail Blazers’ LaMarcus Aldridge on the loss:
“The effort was there. There was no question about that, and we were in the game. We were battling, and they definitely didn’t have an easy game tonight. It wasn’t a blowout. I think guys played hard and played together and we had a chance to win.”

Trail Blazers’ LaMarcus Aldridge on being double-teamed in the second half:
“They didn’t let me do what I did in the first half. They kept a guy on the elbow in the second half. In the first half, they were leaving the guy all by himself. I was taking four or five dribbles. In the second half, I took one or two dribbles and they were right there.”

Trail Blazers’ LaMarcus Aldridge on Lakers players stepping up outside of the big three:
“World Peace made a tough one dribble pull-up shot and we doubled off of Sessions and he hit a three. They had guys step up who can make plays that we didn’t think would make the plays.”

Trail Blazers’ LaMarcus Aldridge on Bynum’s new confidence:
“He was an afterthought in the last offense. With this new coach he’s definitely a focal point in them getting going. I think that has given him new confidence to get him to the level he’s playing at.”




J.J. Hickson:

Trail Blazers’ J.J. Hickson on the loss:
“We have got to rebound. That is where the game was lost. We fought hard though. That’s the first team that coach has come into the locker room and said he admired the way we fought. We just have to get ready to play Golden State.”

Trail Blazers’ J.J. Hickson on his 14-point performance:
“I haven’t had a chance to practice with the team but I know most of the plays and all of our separate sets. We didn’t do anything difficult as far as the offense goes. I’m just playing off of my teammates.”






Trail Blazers-Lakers Preview

By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN


Posted Mar 22 2012 11:50PM

Last season, Ramon Sessions and J.J. Hickson were the Cleveland Cavaliers' leading scorers. Now they are both being forced to adjust to new teams.

Sessions asserted himself over a two-game road trip for the Los Angeles Lakers this week, and they return home Friday night to face the Portland Trail Blazers, who could see Hickson make his team debut.

It was a tough blow for the Lakers' locker room last Thursday when veteran Derek Fisher was traded to Houston. Sessions was acquired from Cleveland that same day along with forward Christian Eyenga.

While Sessions totaled 17 points and 11 assists in his first two games for the Lakers at home, those numbers were up to 31 points on 13-of-17 shooting and 13 assists as Los Angeles (29-18) split two games in Houston and Dallas.

Sessions had 17 points and nine assists in Wednesday's 109-93 win over the Mavericks. The point guard could soon crack the starting lineup, since that point total matched the best in 2011-12 by current starter Steve Blake and the assist total surpassed Blake's highest in a single game this season.

"The kid Sessions made the game easy for everybody," coach Mike Brown said. "He had a very good all-around game. You can see how his speed can help us, his ability to ... turn the corner and get into the teeth of the defense."

Kobe Bryant shot a season-high 61.1 percent (11 of 18) for 30 points Wednesday while Pau Gasol went 13 for 16 from the field for 27 points.

"He definitely is a point guard that creates a lot of pick-and-rolls, and gets us points in transition, too," Gasol said of Sessions. "He gets in the lane, and he can knock down the shot himself."

Hickson was in uniform but did not play in Thursday's 97-93 home win over Memphis. A former first-round pick by the Cavaliers, he was waived by Sacramento on Tuesday and claimed by Portland (22-25) the next day.

The 6-foot-9 forward is averaging 4.7 points this season after leading Cleveland with 13.8 a season ago.

"We like J.J.'s energy and physicality," acting general manager Chad Buchanan said. "He's a young, but experienced player who can help our front line."

Portland is hoping Hickson can help LaMarcus Aldridge in its frontcourt. Aldridge has averaged 23.0 points and 9.0 boards while the Trail Blazers have split two meetings with the Lakers this season.

The Lakers will get their first look at Portland's new lineup after Marcus Camby and Gerald Wallace - starters in the first two matchups - were let go in separate deals last Thursday. Joel Przybilla and Wesley Matthews have started all four games under interim coach Kaleb Canales.

The Blazers are in 12th place in the Western Conference, 3 1/2 games behind Houston for the last postseason spot.

"We're still in this," Matthews said. "We fully believe we will make the playoffs."

Bryant is averaging 29.0 points in the season series while Andrew Bynum is averaging 17.5 points and 15.5 boards.

Los Angeles had its 10-game home win streak snapped Sunday in a 103-99 loss to Utah. The Lakers fell to 13-1 against West foes at home.


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 #88 Batum  
  #16 Gasol PF #12 Aldridge  
  #17 Bynum C #10 Przybilla  
  #24 Bryant SG #2 Matthews  
  #7 Sessions PG #5 Felton  



Lakers None

Elliot Williams
(left shoulder) is out.
Shawne Williams
(left foot) is out.


Game 1: 1/5 - LAL @ POR L 96-107
Game 2: 2/20 - POR @ LAL W 103-92
Game 3: 3/23 - POR @ LAL


GAME NOTES

SEASON & SERIES NOTES; CONNECTIONS
The Lakers and Blazers have split their first two games this season, after the Lakers won 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 202nd meeting between the Trail Blazers and Lakers with Los Angeles leading the all-time series 113-88. The Lakers are 5-5 against the Trail Blazers in their last 10 overall games. At STAPLES Center, the Lakers are 18-5 against the Trail Blazers all-time and have won 8-of-their- last-9 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 their most recent meeting (2/20/12) the Lakers held the Blazers to just seven first quarter points, Portland’s lowest first quarter points total in their 3,363-game history in the NBA; the total also matched the second lowest first quarter points total allowed by the Lakers since moving to Los Angeles prior to the 1960-61 season. 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 54 career games against Portland including 48 starts, Kobe Bryant is averaging 27.4 points against the Blazers. In his last 23 regular season games against the Blazers, however, Bryant has upped his average against Portland to 31.3 points per game (721).


ANDREW BYNUM NAMED WESTERN CONFERENCE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
On March 19, the NBA announced that Andrew Bynum had earned Western Conference Player of the Week for games played Monday, March 12 through Sunday, March 18, giving him the SECOND WC Player of the Week award of his career. Bynum led the Lakers to a 3-1 week, including back-to-back road wins against Memphis and New Orleans and a home victory against Minnesota. Averaging 27.5 points and 14.8 rebounds, while shooting 66.5% from the field, Bynum led the Western Conference in rebounding, placed second in the conference in scoring and finished fourth in the West in field-goal percentage on the week. Bynum collected point-rebound doubledoubles in all four of the Lakers games, including 37 points (15-18 FG) and 16 rebounds 3/13 @ Memphis, 25 points and 19 rebounds 3/14 @ New Orleans and 33 points (12-14 FG) and 11 rebounds 3/18 vs. Utah. Bynum’s first career WC Player of the Week award was earned back on January 26, 2009, when Bynum averaged 23.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.25 blocks in helping lead the Lakers to a 4-0 week from 1/19/09 to 1/25/09.


BYNUM ON A ROLL
With 33 points (12-of-14 FG (85.7 percent), 9-of-12 FT) against the Utah Jazz on March 18th, Andrew Bynum recorded his fourth career 30+ point game, but third in his last eight contests. Scoring 37 points in the Lakers double overtime victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on March 13th, going 15-of-18 from the field (83.3 percent), Bynum’s night marked just the fourth time in Lakers history that a player has scored at least 37 points on better than 83 percent shooting. The last Laker to accomplish this was Shaquille O’Neal, who did so back on November 19, 1999 in a victory over the Bulls. Bynum’s first 30+ point game of the month came on March 6th in Detroit, when he scored 30 points on 13-of-18 shooting.


WIRE-TO-WIRE
With their 97-92 victory over Minnesota on March 16th, the Lakers recorded their SECOND wire-to-wire victory of the 2011-12 season. Their other wire-to-wire victory (game in which they never trailed) also came against the Timberwolves (104-85 (2/29)). Last year, the Lakers led the NBA with 10 wire-to-wire victories, all coming during the regular season. During the team’s two most recent championship runs, they recorded nine wire-to-wire victories in 2009-10 (seven during the regular season and two during the 2010 Playoffs (4/18 & 4/27 vs. Oklahoma City)) and 11 wire-to-wire victories in 2008-09 (nine during the regular season and two during the 2009 Playoffs (4/29 vs. Utah & 5/17 vs. Houston)). The Lakers have also lost one game this season in wire-to-wire fashion, falling to the Clippers 102-94 on January 14th. Last year, the Lakers lost two such games: (98-107 1/8/10 at POR & 75-91 3/26/10 at OKC).


LAKERS MAKE IT 19 STRAIGHT AGAINST THE TIMBERWOLVES
Leading by nine at the half and by as many as 16 points in the third, the Lakers allowed Minnesota back to within as few as five but held on down the stretch to record their 19th consecutive victory over the Timberwolves 97-92 on March 16th at STAPLES Center. The streak, which is the longest active win streak by one NBA team against another, equals the second longest streak in Lakers franchise history when Los Angeles defeated the Dallas Mavericks 19 straight times from 1995-99. The longest regular season streak against a single opponent in Lakers franchise history is 24 consecutive victories over the Kings from 1983-88.


BRYANT WORKING OVERTIME
Kobe Bryant played 48:38 in the Lakers' overtime win at New Orleans on March 14th after playing 51:47 in their double-overtime victory at Memphis on March 13th. Bryant is the third NBA player in the last nine seasons to log more than 48 minutes in each of two games played on consecutive days. The only other players to do so over that span (2003-04 to date) were Charlotte teammates Jason Richardson and Gerald Wallace (Jan. 11-12, 2008). Bryant is the first Lakers player to do so since Wilt Chamberlain (Feb. 1-2, 1969).*


BACK-TO-BACK OVERTIMES
With their overtime victory 3/14 at New Orleans, which followed a double-overtime victory 3/13 at Memphis, the Lakers posted overtime road victories on consecutive days for just the 3rd time in franchise history. The previous occurrences were November 13-14, 1997 (at SA and HOU) and November 3-4, 2009 (at OKC and HOU).*


BRYANT APPROACHING JORDAN FOR 2ND ON NBA FRANCHISE CAREER POINTS LIST
During the 2009-10 season, with his 29th point on February 1, 2010 at Memphis, Kobe Bryant surpassed Jerry West as the Lakers all-time leading scorer. In the history of the NBA, only two players have scored more points with a single franchise than Bryant (29,143): Karl Malone (1st/36,374) and Michael Jordan (2nd/29,277). Last season, Bryant moved past Hakeem Olajuwon (26,511) 12/19/10 at Toronto and John Havlicek (26,395) 12/10/10 at Chicago into third on this list.


GETTING YOUNGER
In acquiring Ramon Sessions (25) and Christian Eyenga (22) from Cleveland for Luke Walton (32) and Jason Kapono (31) and Jordan Hill (24) from Houston for Derek Fisher (37) prior to the March 15 trade deadline, the Lakers average team age saw two years shaved off of it, going from 29 years, 149 days to 27 years, 133 days.


BYNUM ON A ROLL
With 37 points in the Lakers double overtime victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on March 13th, Andrew Bynum recorded his third career 30+ point game but second in his last five contests. Additionally, by going 15-of-18 from the field (83.3 percent), Bynum’s night marked just the fourth time in Lakers history that a player has scored at least 37 points on better than 83 percent shooting. The last Laker to accomplish this was Shaquille O’Neal, who did so back on November 19, 1999 in a victory over the Bulls.


*Statistical research assistance provided by the Elias Sports Bureau






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