The Lakers are back at Staples Center tonight to take on the Portland Trail Blazers after finishing their three game road trip 2-1. The Blazers have had one of the better starts in the season recently going on an 11-game winning streak but it was snapped in their last game ending in a 120-106 loss to the Phoenix Suns. The Lakers have been doing well defending their home court this season with a 6-3 record. After suffering sprained ankles in the win against the Detroit Pistons, both Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill will be available to play tonight. With a win tonight the Lakers will extend their winning streak at home against the Trail Blazers to 11.
The Lakers got off to a horrible start going 0 for 8 before getting their first points in the game off a layup by Steve Blake. Gasol missed his first five field goals and had a rough time getting shots over the defense of Robin Lopez and LaMarcus Aldridge. On defense, the Lakers contested shots but both Damian Lillard and Aldridge had their way knocking down shots and getting to the free throw line. Midway through the quarter the Lakers still struggled to score and turned the ball over multiple times. With the second unit coming in, and both Blake and Gasol staying in the game from the starting unit, the Lakers found their rhythm hitting their jump shots, forcing turnovers and scoring inside the paint. The Lakers finished the quarter strong cutting the 17-point Blazers lead to just eight after Blake hit a three to beat the buzzer.
Blake started the second quarter the same way he finished the first hitting a three to bring the Blazer lead down to just five. The Lakers continued to play well offensively showing great ball movement and chemistry. The Blazers had a tough time scoring against the Lakers’ defense going 2 for 13 midway through the quarter. The Lakers bench brought great energy with both Johnson and Sacre blocking shots and Henry finding different ways to score on offense. A three from Jodie Meeks gave the Lakers their first lead in the game. The Lakers cooled off and allowed the Blazers to go on a 7-0 run to regain the lead. At the end of the half, the Lakers trailed the Blazers 53-50.
The Lakers opened up the quarter scoring first with Gasol getting what was only his second field goal made in the game. The Blazers took advantage of the Lakers’ poor defense with Robin Lopez scoring inside and long jumpers from Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews. With the Lakers unable to get going offensively the Blazers pushed their lead to 11 behind the offense of Lillard and Matthews. The second unit could not come out with the same intensity they had in the first half and the Blazers started to pull away from the Lakers. Both Young and Henry were fighting on the offensive side to keep the Lakers in the game but the team could not get stops on defense. Henry led the Lakers in scoring with 16 points and the Blazers finished the quarter ahead of the Lakers 94-74.
Both teams had a rough start to the quarter, the Lakers missed multiple jump shots and the Blazers turned the ball over. The Lakers struck first with a strong dunk by Henry but he received a technical for taunting. Good defense from the bench prevented the Blazers from scoring in the first four minutes of the quarter. After another dunk from Henry and Johnson’s first points of the game the Lakers cut the lead to 10 after trailing by 20 at the start of the quarter. With three minutes remaining in the game, the Lakers’ bench outplayed the Blazers as they erased all but one point of the lead. However, Blazers finally fought back with Matthews getting fouled on a fast break and hitting a three on the next possession. Lakers weren’t able to close it out and lose 114-108.
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