Lakers vs Trail Blazers: Lakers beat Portland in overtime
It took an overtime, but the Lakers finally escaped Portland with a win over the Trail Blazers, their second straight victory in the Rose Garden.
There was a time when the Lakers had lost nine consecutive games in Portland.
But the Lakers won the last time they came here, Feb. 6, 2010, to break that losing streak.
Now the Lakers have a little "momentum" up here that Lakers Coach Phil Jackson had hoped his team could get.
Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 37 points, but it was the play of Ron Artest that made the difference.
Artest had 24 points, including a three-pointer that gave the Lakers a 95-92 lead in overtime.
After losing three consecutive games before the All-Star break last weekend, the Lakers now have won two in a row this week. Their next game is at home against the Clippers on Friday.
LaMarcus Aldridge had given the Lakers problems all game, but after he scored 29 points through three quarters, the Lakers held the power forward scoreless the rest of the way. It took a lot of double teams to do the job, but it worked.
Aldridge also missed a game-winning layup at the end of regulation, his third consecutive miss with the game on the line.
Lakers 87, Trail Blazers 87 (end of fourth quarter)
LaMarcus Aldridge missed three consecutive shots, his last a driving layup that could have given Portland the win.
Kobe Bryant scored back-to-back basket, his seond one with 4.7 seconds left, to tie the score at 87-87, helping the Lakers overcome a 10-point deficit.
When the Trail Blazers made three consecutive three-pointers, the Lakers looked to be in trouble.
Even after Lamar Odom scored, he was upset because no foul was called and was given a technical foul.
Before the Lakers knew it, they were down, 85-75 midway through the fourth quarter.
But the Lakers didn't stop competing.
After Ron Artest made a three-pointer, the Lakers pulled to within 87-83, forcing Portland to call a timeout with 1:29 left.
Out of the timeout, the Trail Blazers saw LaMarcus Aldridge miss a shot.
After Bryant scored, Aldridge missed again, leaving the door open once again for Bryant.
Trail Blazers 69, Lakers 67 (end of third quarter)
Behind Kobe Bryant's 11 points in the third quarter, the Lakers pulled to within two points of the Trail Blazers entering the fourth quarter.
Bryant had 21 points while Ron Artest added 17 points through three quarters.
The bad news was that Lamar Odom picked up his fourth foul in the third.
LaMarcus Aldridge continued his strong performance, finishing with 29 points and 11 rebounds through three quarters.
Trail Blazers 47, Lakers 41 (end of first half)
The Lakers got down by as many as nine points in the second quarter.
Their defense wasn't very good and Nicolas Batum was getting too many open shots, allowing him to score 10 points through in the first half.
But with Ron Artest scoring 12 points in the first half on four-of-six shooting while making both three-point attempts, the Lakers were able to close that gap by halftime.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 18 points on eight-of-10 shooting, and six rebounds in the first half.
Kobe Bryant had only nine points on four-for-15 shooting in the first half.
The Lakers shot just 41.5% in the first half, whey they were out-rebounded, 21-16.
Trail Blazers 29, Lakers 23 (end of first quarter)
It began in such a good way for the Lakers, who opened a 10-2 lead tonight in the Rose Garden. They worked over Portland on the backboards, collecting three offensive rebounds.
But then things started to change later in the first, right around the time that the Trail Blazers began to outhustle the Lakers and when LaMarcus Aldridge began to assert himself on offense.
Aldridge, who probably should have made the Western Conference All-Star team, had 12 points and four rebounds in the first quarter.
Pau Gasol led the Lakers with nine points in the first.
Portland guard Brandon Roy, who hadarthroscopic surgery on both knees two months ago, returned with 2:21 left in the first to a standing ovation.
Roy missed his only shot.
The Lakers had lost nine consecutive games against the Portland Trail Blazers at the Rose Garden until getting a victory here last season.
The Lakers are back in Portland to face the Trail Blazers on Wednesday night, hoping to start a winning streak.
"We just play one at a time, but hopefully we now have the momentum," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said.
Jackson was asked why the Lakers have lost so much in Porland.
"The rain," Jackson joked.
The Lakers know it won't be easy to beat the Trail Blazers.
Portland has won its last six consecutive games.
And Brandon Roy, who had surgery on both knees earlier htis seaosn, is expected back for the Trail Blazers.
"They are cohesive," Jackson said. "They support each other well. They play good defense. They can play behind that. Their offense comes and goes a little bit with them, but they are a pretty cohesive group."
-- Broderick Turner, reporting from Portland
Photo: Lakers power forward Pau Gasol loses his grip on the ball as he looks to score against Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge in the first half Wednesday night. Credit: Don Ryan / Associated Press