Lakers vs. Portland: Kobe Bryant leads Lakers past Trail Blazers
Lakers 84, Trail Blazers 80 (final)
In the fourth quarter, Kobe Bryant took over, despite a sore neck and sprained left ankle.
Bryant scored 10 of his 22 points in the fourth.
He was five for 10 from the field in the fourth, nine for 20 for the game.
Bryant knocked the ball away from Andre Miller, allowing Derek Fisher to pick up the loose basketball.
Fisher fed Bryant for a dunk to tie the score at 76-76.
Then Fisher got a steal and went in for a layup for a 78-76 Lakers lead.
Bryant scored back-to-back baskets for an 82-77 lead.
The basket with 32.9 seconds left came after Ron Artest was called for a technical foul after he became entangled with Gerald Wallace.
After Bryant scored, he yelled and pulled on his jersey.
Trail Blazers 66, Lakers 62 (end of third quarter)
It was not a good shooting quarter for the Lakers.
That was part of the reason why the Lakers went down by as many as nine points in the third.
At one point, the Lakers were three-for-12 shooting from the field for the quarter.
But when they ended the third quarter with a Matt Barnes three-pointer a few steps behind the half-court line, the Lakers had pulled to within four points entering the fourth.
Trail Blazers 48, Lakers 44 (end of first half)
If the Lakers had found a way to slow down Nicolas Batum in the second quarter, they might have kept their lead.
Batum had 19 first-half points. His two three-pointers late in the second helped the Trail Blazers take the lead.
Early in the second quarter, the Lakers opened a seven-point lead. It was second-unit players Matt Barnes, Steve Blake and Shannon Brown who helped the Lakers get more fastbreaks to open the lead.
Lakers 27, Trail Blazers 20 (end of first quarter)
Indeed, Kobe Bryant did start for the Lakers at shooting guard despite a sore neck and sprained left ankle.
Bryant looked pretty good in the first, scoring seven points on three-for-five shooting.
With Andrew Bynum serving the first game of his two-game suspension, Lamar Odom started in his place.
Odom had four points on two-for-two shooting, two rebounds and two assists in the first.
Nicolas Batum led the Trail Blazers with 11 points on five-for-seven shooting.
The Lakers won't have center Andrew Bynum for Sunday night's game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center, but they expect guard Kobe Bryant to play despite his injuries.
Bynum was suspended for two games by the NBA on Sunday for a flagrant foul against Minnesota's Michael Beasley during Friday night's game.
Bynum will also miss Tuesday night's game against the Phoenix Suns in Los Angeles.
Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said before Sunday night's game that he felt badly for "the team and the fans" that Bynum wasn't playing.
Jackson was asked whether Bynum deserved a two-game suspension.
"That's a subjective thing," Jackson said. "I don't know how they judge it subjectively. I understand the reasoning behind it, [but] the penalty, I don't understand it."
Bryant has been playing despite a sprained left ankle.
Now he has a sore neck, too, after he accidentally was hit in the neck by Minnesota's Martell Webster during Friday night's game.
Jackson said Bryant was "OK" to play against the Trail Blazers.
Jackson said he was not tempted to tell Bryant to take a game or two off.
"We have an 82-game season and people pay extreme prices for those and our guys want to perform," Jackson said, "and we want to perform as a team."
Jackson said Bryant worked out Sunday.
"He came out and shot a little bit today, but it was without jumping and all the time it takes for a jump shot," Jackson said. "He was just getting his rhythm together, just shooting the ball [and] getting his stroke down."
-- Broderick Turner
Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant dishes a pass around Portland power forward LaMarcus Aldridge. Credit: Harry How / Getty Images