GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 OT Final
Box Score Los Angeles Lakers 23 18 26 20 19 106
Play by Play Portland Blazers 29 18 22 18 14 101


Bryant has 37 as Lakers beat Blazers 106-101

By ANNE M. PETERSON

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) Kobe Bryant had 37 points and the Los Angeles Lakers overcame a 10-point deficit late in the fourth quarter to beat Portland 106-101 in overtime Wednesday night, snapping the Trail Blazers' season-best, six-game winning streak.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 29 points and 14 rebounds for the Blazers, but didn't hit a shot in the fourth quarter and missed two key free throws in the extra period.

Lamar Odom and Ron Artest each hit a 3-pointer to help Los Angeles to a 95-92 lead in overtime. Rudy Fernandez responded with a tying 3 and Andre Miller's jumper gave the Blazers the lead, but Pau Gasol hit a turnaround hook shot and added a free throw before Bryant's jumper with 27.9 seconds left gave Los Angeles a 100-97 advantage.

Gasol fouled Aldridge, who missed both free throws to all but seal it for the Lakers.

The two-time defending NBA champions beat Atlanta 104-80 on Tuesday night in Los Angeles, snapping a three-game losing streak.

Portland went up 85-75 on Wesley Matthews' short jumper with 5:49 left in regulation. But the Lakers slowly chipped away at the lead.

Artest hit a 3-pointer with 1:29 left that narrowed the gap to four. Bryant's fadeaway jumper made it 87-85, and after Aldridge missed on the other end, Bryant scored again with 4.7 seconds left. Aldridge missed another layup as time ran out, sending the game to overtime.

The dramatic loss ruined an uplifting night for Portland, which put three-time All-Star Brandon Roy on the floor for the first time since December. Roy entered with 2:21 left in the first quarter and received a standing ovation from the sellout crowd at the Rose Garden.

Roy hadn't played since Dec. 15 because of soreness in both knees, which he says is caused by too little cartilage. He underwent arthroscopic surgery on Jan. 17.

Coach Nate McMillan says Roy will be limited to 15 minutes per game initially, coming off the bench. He will not play in back-to-back games.

The Lakers led by as many as eight points early, but Portland pulled ahead on Fernandez's 3-pointer with 3:02 to go in the first quarter. Fernandez made an acrobatic save that sent him over the scorer's table - a lob that went to Nicolas Batum for another 3-pointer that extended the lead to 25-19.

The Blazers started 7-foot center Joel Przybilla to give them more size against the Lakers. Rumors swirled all day that the Blazers were trying to deal him to Charlotte in exchange for Gerald Wallace, but the talk had died down considerably by game time.

Portland went on to lead by as many as nine points in the second quarter and went into the break ahead 47-41. Aldridge had 18 points in the first half.

Bryant hit a 3-pointer to give Los Angeles a 67-65 lead with just over a minute to go in the third quarter. It was short-lived, and the Blazers built a 76-71 advantage on a 3-pointer from Batum.

NOTES: The Lakers won the first meeting with the Blazers, 121-96 on Nov. 7 in Los Angeles. It was the most points the Blazers have allowed this season. ... Actor Timothy Hutton attended the game, sitting next to former Blazers great Jerome Kersey.


Copyright 2011 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




37 Points for Kobe Bryant, who nailed the two biggest and most difficult shots of the game on back-to-back possessions in the final minute of regulation, capping an 8-0 Lakers run that forced overtime. He added nine rebounds, six assists and three steals.

24 Points for Ron Artest, a season high, thanks largely to his 5-for-6 shooting from three-point territory. Artest added six boards, four assists and two steals in perhaps his best game of the season.

14 Rebounds for Pau Gasol, who also came up big in overtime with five of his 18 points after not taking a shot in the fourth quarter.

11 Years since the Lakers had won back-to-back games in Portland before this night, coming after their victory last February.

0 Points for LaMarcus Aldridge in the fourth quarter and overtime after he was dominant with 29 points on 12-of-15 shooting in the first three quarters.




View More Photos


Points Bryant 37, 14-31 FG
Rebounds Gasol 14, 2 OFF 12 DEF
Assists Bryant 6
Steals Bryant 3
Blocks Bynum, Gasol, Odom, Caracter


POSTGAME QUOTES


HEAD COACH PHIL JACKSON

On what he told his team at halftime:
"I told them that they were getting taken out of their offense at halftime, and they needed to be more solid in how they delivered the basketball up the court. And not to get stretched out, and get comfortable out there playing the game."

On when he felt that Lakers could come back and win:
"When we made three threes in a row in the third quarter. We kind of changed the momentum of the game, and then it became a game in which we were back in it."

On Ron Artest's performance:
"That's one of the better games he's played. He's shooting the ball better. The reality is, he made some good shots, some good things happened for him out there, and he got confident and comfortable."

On defending LaMarcus Aldridge:
"We got into a double team that cost us a couple threes. We tried to get the ball out of his hands, come back and double-team him and get him off the ball."

On coming back to win the game:
"There was a point where I said now we have to change everything. I think we were down eight with four minutes to go. Ron had the ball, it looked like he might have dribbled it or someone got ahold of it and knocked it out of bounds. We said 'Stop making mistakes, be precise with the ball, have a purpose when we come down, and defensively we can't give them fouls.'"

On how the team is playing compared to before the All-Star break:
"Our defense is better, there's no doubt about it. I was unhappy with our turnovers, and that we haven't been able to solve that problem right now. We're still turning the ball over too much. But I think we're more purposeful as we play. I think we have a better idea of what we want to get accomplished. Guys are not just shooting the ball, they're playing together."






RON ARTEST

On if he's felt more confident or comfortable since the All-Star break:
"I always feel comfortable. I always feel confident. I always feel good. Just because you play bad one game, you can't blame it on anything. You have to feel the same way. Eat the same breakfast every morning, you can't change that much."

On his offensive performance:
"There are games where I'm not going to have that many opportunities, but tonight the opportunities came. Some nights I don't have to do it, but tonight, the way the game was, they were just leaving me open, disrespecting me."




LAMAR ODOM

On winning in Portland
:
"We don't really get too hyped over teams, but our record hasn't been good up here over the last couple of years, so it was fun to win."

On how they came back to win the game:
"It's experience. We just gave ourselves a chance to win by getting stops. We've been in games like this before."




HEAD COACH NATE McMILLAN

What happened down the stretch?
"Well, you've got to make plays. You've got to get stops defensively, offensively get to your spots and get the ball where it needs to go, then you've got to make shots. You shoot 64 percent from the free throw line. I think we're up seven, we have a couple open looks and you've got to knock down those shots when you get those opportunities."

"They made plays down the stretch. They got stops. They took away our main option at times. When they do that, you've got to counter and get to your second option. But when you get opportunities, you've got to knock down shots. I thought we had some opportunities tonight.

"Losing is hard. You have that opportunity to win. Four seconds on the clock, it's our ball, we get two shots at the basket. We miss a layup and a tip-in at that time. You get opportunities going down the stretch, certainly in the fourth quarter you've got to make plays on both ends of the floor."

On team's focus amid trade deadline rumors:
"We had an opportunity to win this game. I thought we were focused. We played well enough to win, we just didn't execute down the stretch."

On final play of regulation:
"We wanted to spread the floor. That last four seconds, we knew that they would probably get some switching. The play was for LaMarcus and Rudy to play a two-man game and try and see if we could get Rudy going to the basket. If they take that away, then LaMarcus goes to the basket hard which LaMarcus saw the lane and had the drive."

On Roy's return:
"He was just trying to get into a rhythm. We ran a few sets for him and he was able to do some things. But today was all about getting him out on the floor. We wanted to keep him at 15 minutes and I thought we did that and we'll slowly work him back."








Aaron BrooksLAMARCUS ALDRIDGE

"They made plays. We had opportunities to make big shots to close out the game and we missed ours and they made theirs. I think that's the case. We were up, went cold, then they made big shots like they do. That's why they're a championship team."

On LA's defense changing in fourth quarter and overtime:
"They were coming basically on catch. They never let me see the basket. They never even let me take a dribble. I think in the first half and third quarter, they were letting me take a dribble first so I could read it. But then in the fourth quarter, they were coming on catch so I couldn't get a rhythm."

On last play of regulation:
"It felt good. I thought there was a lot of contact on that drive, but it felt good. I just shorted it a little bit, but I wanted to go to the basket and try to make a layup. I didn't make the play tonight."

How tough is loss?
"It's tough, especially for me because I didn't make plays down the stretch. I had the ball in my hand a lot to close the game out, I missed the layup and then those two big free throws in the overtime. That was big for me. I can't do that no more."












LAKERS VS. BLAZERS GAME PREVIEW

By NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO, STATS Writer

Kobe Bryant is again a big reason why the Los Angeles Lakers are comfortably leading the Pacific Division. It may be LaMarcus Aldridge's impact on the Portland Trail Blazers, however, that is more impressive.

Aldridge may also be getting some significant help, too.

With guard Brandon Roy potentially back, Aldridge and the red-hot Trail Blazers seek their longest winning streak in over three years when they host Bryant and the Lakers on Wednesday night.

Bryant is among the league scoring leaders with 25.0 points per game. That production from the four-time All-Star game MVP has helped Los Angeles (39-19) build a 10-game lead on second-place Phoenix as it seeks a fourth consecutive division title.

While Bryant continues to keep the Lakers among the league's elite, Aldridge has been vital to Portland (32-24) overcoming a slew of injuries to reach the All-Star break fifth in the Western Conference by percentage points on New Orleans and Denver.

The forward is averaging 26.3 points and 9.7 rebounds since a loss to Dallas on Dec. 15. That stellar play has helped the Trail Blazers survive despite knee injuries to Roy, Greg Oden and Marcus Camby.

Aldridge has 10 games this season with at least 30 points, scoring 34 in a 103-96 win over New Orleans on Feb. 16, Portland's season-high sixth in a row.

"We're playing through him," guard Andre Miller said. "The game is coming easy to him and we can get him transition points, post him up, get him to the free throw line and (have him) knock down jump shots, so he doesn't have to play too much with his back to the basket. And when he does he's making plays for everybody else."

Now, the Blazers may have Roy back for the first time since Dec. 15 after undergoing surgery to both knees last month.

He won't know his status until after the shootaround Wednesday.

A three-time All-Star, Roy is having a down season, averaging 16.6 points on 39.9 percent shooting after making 47.3 percent from the field for 21.5 points per game in 2009-10.

"We've missed him," Aldridge said. "We've been using Nic (Batum) at the four, and a lot of guys have been playing a lot of minutes. So getting Brandon back should be big for us."

Aldridge and Roy both struggled in a 121-96 loss at Los Angeles on Nov. 7, scoring eight points each while combining to make 4 of 15 shots.

Roy, though, is averaging 25.2 points in his last five meetings with the Lakers at the Rose Garden. However, a hamstring injury forced him to miss a 99-82 loss in the most recent matchup there Feb. 6, 2010, ending the Blazers' nine-game home winning streak in the series.

Re-establishing that home success would give Portland its longest win streak since a 13-game run Dec. 3-30, 2007.

The Lakers are looking for consecutive victories after returning from the break with a 104-80 rout of Atlanta on Tuesday, ending a three-game skid.

"We know we're an elite team," Pau Gasol said. "We know we can be dominating. It just hasn't happened consistently enough. We're glad it happened (Tuesday), but we've got to do it again and again."

Bryant is averaging 18.5 points on 39.7 percent shooting over the last four games, and was limited to 12 points in the latest meeting with the Blazers.

Like Roy, an injury forced Bryant out of the Lakers' last visit to Portland, but he's averaging 33.9 points in his last 13 games there.



Copyright 2011 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 Matt Barnes (right knee surgery) is out.
Theo Ratliff
(left knee surgery) is out.

Marcus Camby (left knee) is out.
Greg Oden (left knee) is out.
Brandon Roy (left knee) is out.
Elliot Williams (right knee) is out.



11/07 - POR @ LAL W 121-96
02/23 - LAL @ POR
03/20 - POR @ LAL
04/08 - LAL @ POR


The Portland TrailBlazers bring a 32-24 record and a six game win streak into this game which is testament to the desire of the players and the skill and talent of head coach Nate McMillan. They are currently in the fifth spot if the playoffs started today which is very impressive considering the number of player games lost to injuries. The Blazers may be getting some of the injured players back as Marcus Camby and Brandon Roy both suited up for their last game before the break but did not play. They are expected to play tonight. In their absence the Blazers looked to LaMarcus Aldridge who is having an All-Star season (somehow he was not in the recent game which is ridiculous). Since December 15th Aldridge is averaging 26.3 points per game on 53% shooting and 9.7 rebounds. Portland has also seen improved play from Rudy Fernandez. Suffice it to say if this team was doing this in a bigger media market they would be the toast of the league. They have won 15 of their last 19 home games and we are very familiar with how hard it is to win in the Rose Garden. We will need to match the intensity, effort and attention to detail from the victory over Atlanta last night if we want to win tonight.

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GAME NOTES

SEASON& SERIES NOTES; CONNECTIONS
The Lakers currently lead their season series with Portland 1-0, after dropping last season's series with the Trail Blazers 1-2. The Lakers last won a series against Portland in 2004-05 and overall, have taken just two season series from the Trail Blazers in the 1990's and 2000's combined (2004-05: 2-1 and 1992-93: 3-2). This will be the 197th meeting between the Trail Blazers and Lakers with Los Angeles leading the all-time series 110-86. The Lakers are 5-5 against the Trail Blazers in their last 10 overall games. At STAPLES Center, the Lakers are 16-5 against the Trail Blazers all- time and have won 15 of their last 18. With a victory 2/6/10 at Portland, the Lakers snapped a nine-game losing streak at the Rose Garden (their first win there since 2/23/05) and are now 3-15 in their last 18 games at Portland. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are 19-20 against the Trail Blazers during the regular season. In their first meeting of the 2008 season, the Lakers held the Blazers to their lowest scoring total in series history in a 96-76 opening night victory 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 (on the same day Bryant surpassed Elgin Baylor's single-season franchise scoring record of 2,719 points). In 49 career games against Portland including 43 starts, Kobe Bryant is averaging 27.3 points against the Trail Blazers. In his last 18 regular season games against the Blazers, Bryant is averaging 32.2 points (579). Portland guard Rudy Fernandez played for Spain internationally along with Pau Gasol. Fernandez was on the 2008 Olympic silver medal team with Gasol while both also played together on the gold medal winning Spanish 2006 FIBA World Championships team.

WIRE-TO-WIRE
With their 104-80 victory vs. Atlanta on February 22nd, the Lakers recorded their league-leading NINTH wire-to-wire win of the season. Getting to seven wire-to-wire victories in just 39 games matched the Lakers regular season total from all of last season, while their eighth in 46 games surpassed that total. This season, the Lakers (9) lead the NBA in wire-to-wire victories, followed by the Celtics (7), Heat (7), Spurs (6) and Nuggets (6) through games played 2/22/11. The Lakers other wire-to-wire victories this season came against the Warriors (10/31 vs. GS, 11/21 vs. GS), Grizzlies (11/2 vs. MEM), Wizards (12/7 vs. WAS), Pacers (12/15 @ IND), 76ers (12/31 vs. PHI), Cavaliers (1/11 vs. CLE) and Jazz (1/25 vs. Utah). Last year, the Lakers claimed NINE wire-to-wire victories (games in which they never trailed); seven during the regular season and two during the 2010 Playoffs (4/18 & 4/27 vs. Oklahoma City). During their previous championship run in 2008-09, the Lakers claimed 11 wire-to-wire victories; nine during the regular season and two during the 2009 Playoffs (4/29 vs. Utah & 5/17 vs. Houston). Last season, the Lakers also lost twice in wire-to-wire fashion (98-107 1/8/10 @ POR and 75-91 3/26/10 @ OKC).

BACK-TO-BACK
Wednesday's game against Portland is the second of a back-to-back set with the Hawks and Trail Blazers. This season, the Lakers are 8-4 in the first game and 9-2 in the second of back-to-backs. On the year, the Lakers will play 15 sets of back-to-back games as opposed to the 20 they faced a season ago. The only other time the Lakers have played 15 or fewer sets of back-to-backs came in the team's first ever NBA season (1948-49) when they also played 15 sets of back-to-backs. Chicago, Milwaukee and Atlanta lead the league with 23 back-to-backs each in 2010-11 while Oklahoma City (17), Phoenix (16) and the Lakers (15) will play the fewest sets this season.

BRYANT EARNS RECORD 4TH ALL-STAR GAME MVP
On February 21st, Kobe Bryant was named MVP of the 60th NBA All-Star Game at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, CA. With a game-high 37 points, game-high 14 rebounds, three assists and three steals, Bryant's MVP performance tied him with Bob Pettit (4) for the most NBA All-Star Game MVP awards in league history, surpassing Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal and Oscar Robertson (3). In earning the honor, Bryant became the 7th player in the last 44 years to be named MVP of an All-Star game that was played in his own home arena, joining Jerry West (1972, Great Western Forum), Michael Jordan (1988, Chicago Stadium), Karl Malone & John Stockton (co-MVPs in 1993, Delta Center) and Shaquille O'Neal, who did it twice (2004, STAPLES Center & 2009, US Airways Center). Bryant's 37 points were tied for the 4th most points scored in All-Star Game history with Kevin Garnett (2003), trailing only Wilt Chamberlain (42 points, 1962), Jordan (40 points, 1988) and Rick Barry (38 points, 1967).

Additionally, Bryant's 37-point night and Kevin Durant's 34-point effort marked just the second time that two All-Stars on the same team scored 30-or-more points in the same game. The only other time that happened was in the 1977 game when Julius Erving and Bob McAdoo each scored 30 points for the Eastern Conference. Also, Bryant and Tim Duncan appeared on the same side in an All-Star game for the 12th time on Sunday night, marking the most appearances in an All-Star game as teammates for any two players in NBA history, surpassing Dolph Schayes and Bob Cousy (11 All-Star appearances as teammates).*

STRONG ALL-STAR SHOWING FOR GASOL

With an All-Star Game career-high 17 points (8-13 FG), seven rebounds and two blocks, Pau Gasol helped the West hang on down the stretch for a 148-143 victory over the East in the 60th NBA All-Star Game at STAPLES Center. Logging the most minutes of any Eastern or Western Conference reserve (24:22), Gasol posted the game's second highest plus/minus with +10, equaling Atlanta guard Joe Johnson's +10 and one behind Denver forward Carmelo Anthony's +11 on the night.

RECORDS BEFORE & AFTER ALL-STAR BREAK UNDER JACKSON
On Tuesday, February 16th, the Lakers concluded a seven-game road trip as well as their pre-All-Star break schedule with a 38-19 record (.667).

GASOL'S 30/20
With 30 points (8-15 FG, 14-14 FT) and 20 rebounds February 16th at Cleveland, Pau Gasol posted the first 30-point/20-rebound game of his career while becoming the 10th Laker in franchise history ever to do so, joining Shaquille O'Neal (10), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (19), Happy Hairston (1), Wilt Chamberlain (21), Rudy LaRusso (1), Elgin Baylor (77), Larry Foust (1), Clyde Lovellette (1) and George Mikan (10) in the 30/20 club (number in parentheses is with Lakers only). The last Laker to record a 30/20 game prior to Gasol was Shaquille O'Neal, who posted 31 points and 26 rebounds in an overtime victory over Milwaukee on March 21st, 2004.






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