Gameday: Lakers 104, Blazers 87

GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Portland Trail Blazers 25 23 18 21 87
Play by Play Los Angeles Lakers 34 28 26 16 104

Surging Lakers rout Trail Blazers 104-87


Posted Dec 29 2012 1:04AM

LOS ANGELES (AP) Dwight Howard had 21 points and 14 rebounds, Kobe Bryant scored 27 points and the Los Angeles Lakers never trailed in their sixth win in seven games, 104-87 over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night.

Pau Gasol had 15 points and nine rebounds as the Lakers closed out their 2012 schedule by climbing back to .500 (15-15) in their rocky season. Los Angeles had little trouble rolling past the Blazers, taking a 20-point lead in the first half and holding star rookie Damian Lillard to 11 points on 4-for-17 shooting.

LaMarcus Aldridge scored 26 points before sitting out the final minutes with a bruised chest for cold-shooting Portland, which lost for just the second time in eight games.

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

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Points Bryant, 27
Rebounds Howard, 14
Assists Nash, 10


Mike D'Antoni:

On the tonight’s game:
“I think our focus defensively, we’re pretty good offensively and we know that, but our focus was better on the defensive end. We did things we talked about and hopefully Denver was just a thing of legs and that’s past us and let’s go forward but I’m really happy with the way we defended as a team. ”

On wDwight Howard:
“His presence on the defensive end is invaluable and we have to have it, and if we don’t have it then we’ll suffer a little bit so he was great. He was good on the offensive end also hitting foul shots when they were fouling him, that’s huge. He played very well tonight.”

On Darius Morris:
“He did well he set the tone, especially his defense. He saved Steve’s legs for a while and Kobe [Bryant] when he even went over to point guard saved him even more, but the biggest thing we’re trying to teach him to slow down and I thought he did that. He got in the lane made some great plays and he finished well so if we can get that every night I’m in.”

On Dwight Howard, and playing with energy:
“I’m a big believer in that the ball will find energy. If you put energy on the floor, and I know with Pau [Gasol] and Steve [Nash] on the floor and especially because I know Steve, if you play with a lot of energy on both sides of the floor, for whatever reason, you end up with a good game, and that ball will find [Dwight Howard]. We don’t have to call a lot of plays, [Dwight] will be open and I think it’s a role that we don’t want to call peoples numbers. We don’t want to iso. We don’t want to go okay ‘we’re going here’, ‘we’re going there’. We want to play basketball. We have basketball players and everybody plays off each other. Some nights it’s [Howard] some nights it’s Kobe, some nights it’s Steve. Everybody contributes and to me another team can’t scout you because you’re just playing.”

Kobe Bryant:

On the game:
“Denver was a tough game for us. Guys were a little fatigued and whatever. We played a little sluggish and they got us, but I like what we’ve been doing. We have been on track and just came back tonight doing what we’ve been doing.”

“We’ve been played well as of late. You know that Denver game was obviously a little setback, but we’ve been doing pretty well, particularly in the second half. The first half has been a little weird for us and then we come out and do a really good job. Just keep playing like we’ve been playing, that’s all. We have not been going really crazy we just have to be patient. We just have to be patient and continue to play how we’ve been playing and we’ll be fine.”

On on Gasol and Howard’s performance tonight:
“They were extremely active. They played with a lot of energy and that’s exactly what we need from them. We are a much different team when they play with that kind of energy.”

Dwight Howard:

On the intensity on both sides of the floor:
“We just came out and we played hard tonight from the beginning. Our effort was there, we played inside-out, ran the ball, our defense was real good tonight and that’s why we won the game. And Pau (Gasol) was looking like (Dirk) Nowitzki out there, Pau Nowitzki hit two threes.”

On building on effort:
“Like I told you guys, it starts with me. My effort has to be there every night…I can’t allow anything to affect how I play and that’s what I did tonight.”

On on his performance tonight:
“The key for me is continue to get rest. Sometimes those back to back games are very tough for me but I’m just trying to play as hard as I can.”

Pau Gasol:

On feeling more comfortable in the system:
I think i’m figuring it out where I’m going to get my opportunities and where I can get my looks whether they’re threes or anywhere else. I just have to keep working on the positions where I’m going to be mostly during the games and try to be effective from whichever place.”

On having 5 games with 5 assists:
“I like that. It’s a good stat more so than the threes. I like getting my teammates easy looks and just moving the ball. It’s a good sign when your assists are up as a team. Everybody gets a chance. Open guys can get the ball. It gives you confidence and a good team flow. That’s what we’ve been doing so we just need to continue that. And I’m definitely going to continue to do that.”

Steve Nash:

On Dwight’s energy:
“It does make a difference. When he plays hard it really takes a toll on the other team for both ends of the floor. He beats them up on the side on both ends. Has a big presence. That’s why we got him. We are going to lean on him. That’s why he’s a one-of a-kind player.”

On his feeling with the team:
“I feel fine. I think we’re still a new team. It’s new to me. I’m new to the offense. We’re trying to figure it out. I think we’re growing more and more cohesive but I got a long way to go.”

Mike Terry Stotts:

On the game:
“We got outplayed tonight. Lakers played really well, we didn’t necessarily play well. Obviously LaMarcus carried us for the long stretch, but the Lakers outplayed us. ”

“I thought they played a little harder than we did. We would make our runs, then they would have a spurt and would pull away. Obviously the play at the end was disappointing, but I did think they played harder than us for the most part”

“I thought Damian had a lot of shots that he could make. They have good length when he drives in there. It’s Gasol, Hill and Howard, and they are long, but I thought he had a lot of shots he could make and he didn’t make them tonight.

On Dwight Howard:
“He was effective. You know he made his free throws. We didn’t foul him hard enough so he had and ones and he was very effective.”

J.J. Hickson:

On what they have to do moving forward:
“We have to bounce back and get a win. We have a game tomorrow against Philadelphia. This game is over with, we have to get together and see what we did wrong so when we play next time we know the adjustments to make. They just beat us pretty bad tonight. You have to give them credit where credit is due.”

On if the Lakers out-hustled them tonight:
“I’d say that. They didn’t run many plays; they just got out in transition, which was surprising to us. We have to do a better job of getting back and playing harder than other teams.”

Damian Lillard:

On what they have to do moving forward:
“We have to go back and watch film and see some of the points where they took advantage of us. They scored transition points and they’re not even a running team. I think it’s more of our mistakes, there’s stuff we have to correct.”

On the Lakers out-working them tonight:
“It wasn’t even just in the paint; I thought they just out-worked us as a whole. From top to bottom they played harder than us. Because of how aggressive they were, they made shots, they got calls, and the game was just in their favor. They played a better game than we did.”

LaMarcus Aldridge:

On how the game became so one-sided:
“They got comfortable early, and we kind of started out sluggish. Once we got on that hill they just took advantage of it and kept pouring it on.”

On struggling on the road:
“We just have to play better. That’s the signs of a young team. You have to learn how to take the home crowd with you on the road, and that’s just a part of us growing up.”

Blazers - Lakers Preview


Posted Dec 28 2012 12:13AM

The Los Angeles Lakers appeared to have found their groove before coming up short their last time out.

While they might normally like their chances of getting back on track with Portland coming to town, the Trail Blazers are playing some of their best basketball of the season.

The Lakers try to regroup Friday night against a Blazers team hoping to avoid a 10th loss in 11 meetings at Staples Center.

After getting off to a rough start, Los Angeles (14-15) established itself with a season-best five consecutive victories. While Kobe Bryant did his best to extend that run by scoring 40 points Wednesday, the Lakers couldn't slow down Denver in a 126-114 road loss.

"It just seemed like we were a step slow. It just seemed like we had a wheel stuck in the mud. We played old," said Bryant, who's scored at least 30 in 10 straight games. "It was like we were in a lower gear all night. It's a little bit more alarming now because of the way we started the season."

Los Angeles, which surrendered its highest point total of the season Wednesday, played most of the second half without Dwight Howard after he was ejected for a flagrant foul 2. The Lakers were outscored 58-38 in the paint and gave up 25 second-chance points on 20 offensive rebounds.

Los Angeles now turns its attention to Portland (14-13), which has dropped four straight and 18 of 21 on the road in this series dating to 2001. The Blazers, though, pulled out a 116-106 home victory in their season opener, overcoming Howard's season-high 33 points and 14 rebounds and 30 points from Bryant.

Portland's Nicolas Batum led the way with 26 points in that game while rookie Damian Lillard scored 23 to go along with a season high-tying 11 assists. Wesley Matthews scored 22.

Playing at home versus on the road has a made a world of difference for Portland, which is 10-4 on its own court and 4-9 as the visiting team.

The Blazers have won six of seven, with their only loss over that stretch coming 108-96 at Sacramento on Sunday. Portland, though, exacted revenge Wednesday in the back-end of a home-and-home set, beating the Kings 109-91

"We just wanted to come home and take care of home court and try to get a win before we go out on the road," said Aldridge, with had 28 points and 12 boards.

Lillard also came up big with 17 points, 11 assists and a season-best eight rebounds for the Blazers, who compiled a season-high 31 assists. Portland is averaging 25.2 assists over its last five games - significantly better than its season mark of 20.3.

"We've been moving the ball really well, and I just think that that shows how much more we trust each other now," said Lillard, who leads all first-year players with 18.6 points and 6.7 assists per game. "We're just making plays for each other and guys have enough confidence to make shots."

In addition to trying to contain Aldridge and Lillard, the Lakers could have their hands full with J.J. Hickson. The big man had 17 points and 14 rebounds Wednesday for his ninth consecutive double-double - the longest such stretch by a Blazer since Kermit Washington in 1980.

Portland could be without Matthews for a third consecutive game due to a lingering strained left hip.

After missing eight games earlier this month with knee tendinitis, the Lakers' Pau Gasol was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis. He's listed as probable for this game.

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 Steve Blake
(abdominal surgery) is out.
Pau Gasol
(sore right foot) is probable.
Jordan Hill
(herniated disc) is probable.

Mavericks Wesley Matthews
(left hip) is questionable.
Elliot Williams
(left Achilles tendon) will not play.

10/31 - LAL 106 @ POR 116
12/28 - POR @ LAL
02/22 - POR @ LAL
04/10 - LAL @ POR

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