LO summed it all up in pretty neat fashion
"We got our (butts) whipped tonight."
I paraphrased Lamar Odom's quote to make it a little more PG-13, but I think that version of his capsule review for the Lakers' 112-103 loss to the Trailblazers works just as well. Yet another "L" in the growing pile of defeats going down in the Northwest neck of the woods. After the game, Phil Jackson joked again about negative effects the area's rain causes his squad ("They were raining pretty good out there, I'll tell you that"). Soaked weather may or may not be the true culprit, but it's nonetheless clear that drops of water falling from the sky doesn't bring out the best this purple and gold crew has to offer. The Lakers got behind the eight ball during the first quarter, allowing Portland to shoot a... wait for it... blazing 57%, setting a tone for a night where Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge and Channing Frye (subbing for an injured Joel Przybilla) scored 20+ each. The second quarter ended with a ten point spread that could have been even bigger. The Lakers came to life some down the stretch, making a game of it during sections of the third and especially the fourth quarters. But by the time any box score became official, the Lakers were looking at the bum end of a decision.
The breakdown is below.
The fourth quarter (relatively speaking): I wouldn't go so far as to suggest each Laker player order copies of that frame's stat sheet and pin it to their respective fridges. Mistakes were made down the stretch, opportunities missed and momentum went unsustained in more than fitful periods. But this quarter did feature the lowest Blazer FG clip (44%). It was also the only quarter where the Lakers won a board battle (12-5) and the good guys outscored the hosts. A little more from the outset of what we saw down the stretch and the Lakers might have taken this one.
Kobe Bryant's second half: 24's opening twenty-four minutes of 4-12 shooting, one board and no dimes didn't do much for me. But after some halftime Gatorade and orange slices, The Mamba played a little more like what we've come to expect from him. 23 points on 7-14 shooting. 10 trips to the line (reminiscent of more time spent attacking the rim). Five assists. Four rebounds. And a nice job getting between an angry Vlad Rad and the official drawing his ire after the former was called for a foul. Bryant's calm handling of the situation may have left Radmanovic's wallet a little heavier.
Pau Gasol and Vlad Rad's offense: Note, I emphasized "offense," because both were as guilty as anyone on the roster when it came to not locking down their opponent. But points are an essential part of any winning formula and the pair combined for 38. Vlad went 5-9 from downtown, including a couple biggies to make the last quarter interesting. Gasol also deserves props for his 13 boards.
Pick a stat, just about any stat: Seriously, just go down the line if you're looking for an explanation for this loss. Portland's FG%: 51. Lakers: 44. Portland's 3P%: 46 (10-22). Lakers: 37. Portland's percentage at the stripe: 83. Lakers: 79. Portland rebounds: 40. Lakers: 37. Blazer dimes: 25. Lakers:21. The steals also came out 6-4 in favor of the home squad. Save two fewer turnovers than the baker's dozen coughed up by Portland, the Lakers pretty much fell short in every major offering. Difficult to win when that happens.
Derek Fisher: 1-4 from the field for just 3 points, a tally that actually tripled his combined assists and rebounds while equaling his foul total. Yikes. His play on the other side of the ball didn't do much to make up for it, either. Fish got subbed out in favor of Farmar with about five minutes left in the third and never reentered the contest. Farmar had his own issues (2-8 shooting and a few bad decisions), but at least racked a "6" in the assist and rebound slots. It may have not have been the Bruin's best outing, but bottom line, he outplayed his starter by a pretty sizable margin.
Lamar Odom: The knock on LO has always been his aggressiveness, a charge that's gone mostly silent over the last few months, especially as Odom's done terrific work stepping up while Pau Gasol went down. Tonight wasn't one of those nights. He's had past games with only eight field goal attempts where I may have wished he hoisted a few more, but I didn't necessarily feel like he wasn't part of the action. Seeing Odom only grab five boards, however, clinches the notion for me.
Energy: Phil Jackson and Odom cited their disappointment in the purple and gold pulse on display throughout the evening. I'm not about to debate them. "We didn't come out and play hard," lamented PJ. "We gave up easy baskets in situations where we didn't have to."
Put it this way. I wish the Lakers showed as much scrap over 48 minutes as they did during the 48 seconds or so when everyone got chesty after Odom's flagrant on Roy.
Download lamar_odom_blazer_postgame.mp3 (Lamar Odom)
Download pau_gasol_blazer_postgame.mp3 (Pau Gasol)
Download phil_jackson_blazer_postgame.mp3 (Phil Jackson)