Gameday: Lakers 108, Trailblazers 114
Wesley Johnson, Robert Sacre
Wesley Johnson, Robert Sacre
|W. Johnson||SF||N. Batum|
|J. Hill||PF||L. Aldridge|
|P. Gasol||C||R. Lopez|
|J. Meeks||SG||W. Matthews|
|S. Blake||PG||D. Lillard|
K. Bryant: Achilles Out
S. Nash: Back Out
C. Kaman: Back Questionable
C. McCollum Foot Out
Blazers hold off furious lakers rally
By Greg Beacham
November 30, 2013
LOS ANGELES (AP) LaMarcus Aldridge had 27 points and nine rebounds, and the Portland Trail Blazers blew most of a 20-point lead in the fourth quarter before holding on to beat the Los Angeles Lakers 114-108 Sunday night for their 12th victory in 13 games.
Damian Lillard had 26 points and nine assists, and Wesley Matthews scored 17 points for the Blazers, whose 11-game winning streak ended four days earlier in Phoenix.
Portland returned from its holiday break with its first road victory over the Lakers in seven tries since April 11, 2010, but only after the undermanned Lakers rallied within one point in a harrowing fourth quarter.
Xavier Henry scored 27 points and Jodie Meeks added 20 for the Lakers, who had won five of six to climb above .500 for the first time since they were 1-0.
The Blazers tied their franchise record with 13 victories in November, and they opened December with an unexpected nail-biter. They blew a 17-point lead in the first half, but thought they had taken control with a 41-point third quarter - their biggest period of the season.
Portland led 94-74 entering the fourth, but promptly failed to score for nearly six minutes. The Lakers mounted a 24-5 run with a motley lineup featuring no point guard and energetic backup center Robert Sacre, who had career highs of 12 points and seven rebounds.
Los Angeles cut Portland's lead to 99-98 on Shawne Williams' tip-in with 3:44 to play, but Lillard hit a 3-pointer with 2:54 left, and Matthews added another with 1:20 to play. Los Angeles kept it close, but the Blazers hit five of their six free throws in the final 23 seconds.
The Lakers were left with only nine or 10 healthy players - and one point guard - when Jordan Farmar limped to the locker room in the first quarter, straining his left hamstring shortly after checking in to the game. Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash still haven't returned to uniform, and center Chris Kaman - who recently recovered from a back injury - dressed but didn't play.
Pau Gasol, who missed Saturday's practice to deal with nagging injury issues, missed nine of his 10 shots in the first half before finishing with six points on 3-of-15 shooting.
But the Lakers' league-leading bench had another big game led by Henry, Sacre and Nick Young, who scored 17 points.
The Lakers hoped to play aggressively with the next four days off to rest, but instead got off to a horrific start. Portland took an 11-0 lead in the first four minutes as Los Angeles missed its first eight shots, stretching the margin to 21-4 before many fans had settled in their seats.
Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni yanked four of his starters, and they gradually got back in it with a tying 19-6 run capped by Jodie Meeks' 3-pointer midway through the second quarter.
Lillard scored 11 points in the third quarter as Portland made 17 of its 24 shots while taking command. Los Angeles then scored 10 straight points to open the fourth, and the Blazers didn't get a field goal until 5:31 remained.
NOTES: Lillard converted a four-point play early in the second quarter, and Henry also did it midway through the fourth quarter. ... D'Antoni said Nash will be at practice on Tuesday after a trip to Vancouver for further rehab on his nerve root irritation. There's no timetable for the return of the two-time MVP point guard - or Bryant, who also will be in practice this week. D'Antoni declined to speculate whether Bryant could make his season debut when the Lakers visit Sacramento on Friday. ...Shawne Williams and Johnson both fouled out in the fourth quarter for Los Angeles.
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Lakers Head Coach Mike D’Antoni
(On the Lakers performance tonight)
“Obviously we compromised the game at the beginning of the game… and second half. We just weren’t real good. The group that came in towards the end, [Robert] Sacre [and] that group, I thought was great. They played unbelievably hard, they played tough, and it was good. ”
(On what he would account for the deficit in the beginning and middle of the game)
“I just think the energy wasn’t good. I didn’t think we fought through adversity. I didn’t think we talked enough, I didn’t think there was resistance defensively…They bordered on a day in the park [attitude]. I just didn’t think we had it.”
(On how Jordan Farmer’s injury affected them)
“It hurts. He’s been playing well, and obviously that puts the Steve [in a tough position]. He had to play 23 minutes in the first half. It’s tough, he runs around all the time…We had to go with [Xavier Henry] at the point, or just without a point, and just play. It didn’t seem at the time like the greatest thing in the world, but it worked out OK. Maybe towards the end we could have set some things up better, but a lot of this game is heart and soul and how hard you fight, and I think that group did that.”
(On how he feels about how the team has done up to this point without Kobe Bryant)
“Again, I thought we could have done better, but we’re developing a nice group, and there are some good things that are happening. When [Kobe Bryant] comes back, and I don’t know if he’ll be back Friday, but whenever he comes back, we should be over .500. That’s our goal, and then we’ll see. There will be an adjustment period, and that’s why games like this you can’t just give them away.”
(On Xavier Henry performance throughout the season)
“Well, it’s a bit of a roller coaster…He could be great, or he could struggle a bit. But at 22 years old, if he can do that, we just have to make sure the next game he does it. He can. It might not be this year, it might not be this month, but he’ll keep coming at you.
Lakers guard Steve Blake
(On what he’ll remember most about this game: the fact that the team fell behind by 20 twice, or the fact that they came back from 20 twice)
“More with how hard we fought to get back in the game. It’s not easy to do that but we’ve got guys that compete hard and have good character. It’s tough to overcome those things [deficits] but we did the best we could.”
(On Portland’s scoring, particularly in the third quarter and if it was a matter of their good offense, or the Lakers poor play)
“It’s both. They shot the ball extremely well and we had some turnovers. Just a bunch of little things went wrong for us. At the same time you have to give them a lot of credit. They’re a very talented team.”
Lakers guard Nick Young
(On what it says about the bench and their ability to come from twenty down)
“They played their heart out. Like I said any given night somebody is going to come out and spark and lead us. [Robert] Sacre just played great tonight, you got to give it up to Sacre and [Xavier Henry] those guys fought their hearts out there and Shawne Williams almost threw up out there the way he was running up and down and guarding everybody one through five. They just played great.”
(On if the team got off to a slow start)
“We started off a little sluggish coming back from the trip, you can say it was the plane ride, or days off, but we’ve got to just work hard. We fought through everything and in that fourth quarter the guys were playing great.”
Lakers forward Wesley Johnson
(On what worked for the team tonight)
“It was really just the effort and the fight that we had to claw back and get into the game. I think it was nothing that we were doing in particular on offense; I just think it was the will and the fight within the group that was out there.”
(On the teams will to fight back despite trailing late)
“We knew that if we wanted to try and come back and try to win this game, we had to play hard and I think everybody knew that so the group that was out there just buckled down and we started talking and really riling everybody up and we started fighting back.”
Lakers center Robert Sacre
(On his performance tonight)
“I’ve just been waiting for my time and I’ve been waiting to seize the moment and it’s unfortunate that we couldn’t get the win tonight, but that’s what this team’s all about, you never know who’s going to come out and produce. I think that’s the whole essence of this team, we’re all about one another and we want each other to succeed.”
(On the game and recording career highs in points and rebounds)
“It was a great effort again by the team. It was tremendous to see how we came back in the fourth quarter, but they hit some tough shots and that made it difficult.”
(On taking advantage of his opportunity and how he’s able to be patient and wait for his turn to contribute)
“It’s like my man Vic ‘the brick’ says, you’ve got to water the bamboo. Water the bamboo, it’s my motto and it’s what I’ve been going through. Eventually all the work will pay off and I just have to stay focused within my game. I knew my time would come.”
Lakers forward Xavier Henry
(On his performance and the loss)
“I felt like I played pretty good. I was aggressive and when I’m pretty aggressive things open up for me. I’m just happy we fought back. We were down early and we were down the whole game but we had some guys in that second unit that fought back and we came back and played hard.”
(On the teams’ resiliency)
“We’re fighters. We’ve got a lot of guys that really want to win. We turn up when we’re supposed to and we come in and we try to get the job done.”
Lakers guard Jodie Meeks
(On tonight’s game)
“I thought we did a really good job of coming back, we showed a lot of heart so we’ve just got to focus on the next game.”
All-Time Series Notes: The Lakers took the 2012-13 season series with Portland
3-1 … It was their third consecutive year taking the series from the Trail Blazers 2-1
(2011-12) and 3-1 (2010-11) … The 2010-11 series marked the Lakers first season
series victory against the Trail Blazers since 2004-05 … Since 1989, the Lakers
have won just five season series with Portland (2012-13; 2011-12; 2010-11; 2004-05:
2-1; 1992-93: 3-2) … This will be the 207th meeting between the Trail Blazers and
Lakers with Los Angeles leading the all-time series 117-89 ... The Lakers are 8-2
against the Trail Blazers in their last 10 overall games … At STAPLES Center, the
Lakers are 21-5 against the Trail Blazers all-time in the regular season and have won
11-of-their-last-12 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 5-18 in their last 23 regular season games in Rip City
including a 3-7 mark in their last 10 … In recent series history, during the 2011-12
season (2/20/12), the Lakers held the Trail Blazers to just seven first quarter points,
Portland’s lowest first quarter point total in their then 3,363-game history in the NBA
... The total also matched the second lowest first quarter point total allowed by the
Lakers since moving to Los Angeles prior to the 1960-61 season. In October of
2008, the Lakers held the Trail Blazers to their lowest scoring total in series history
with a 96-76 opening night victory (10/28/08) ... In 2006-07, Lakers G 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 58 career games against Portland including 52 starts, Bryant is averaging 27.8
points against the Blazers, his third highest career total against a single team behind
Charlotte (28.7) and Toronto (28.3) ... Lakers G Steve Blake played with the Blazers
in the 2005-06 season and again from 2007-2010 (before being traded to the
Clippers during the 2009-10 season) ... Blazers G Allen Crabbe was born in Los
Angeles and attended Price High School … Lakers G Steve Nash and Blazers F
Robin Lopez were teammates with the Phoenix Suns from 2008-12.