In its 103-92 win on Monday, the Los Angeles Lakers got off to the fastest of fast starts and rode solid play from Kobe Bryant the rest of the way to outlast a Portland Trail Blazers team that shot 12-23 from three point range.
The fast start began with the Lakers pounding the ball inside to Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, grabbing seven offensive rebounds and attacking the paint for 20 first quarter points there while the Blazers shot falling away from it in the first quarter, missing 14 of 17 shots. Portland only scored seven points in the first quarter, their worst quarter of the season.
By the time the game was 15 minutes old, the Lakers had a 37-7 lead and it didn't look like Los Angeles was going to let Portland score again, having shut them out for an 8-minute stretch to get that big lead. Steve Blake helped Los Angeles stay ahead in the second quarter by blasting four 3-pointers to give the Lakers a 22-point lead going into the half.
Portland had begun to chip away at that big 30-point lead and in the third quarter the lead erosion continued as the Trail Blazers knocked down seven of nine 3-point attempts, outscoring Los Angeles by eight for the quarter to cut the lead to 14.
In that quarter, Portland was more patient and got great shots, as it was not just one person who got hot for the Blazers, but five different players who hit threes. LaMarcus Aldridge had eight of his team-high 18 points in the third. Also with 18 on the night for Portland was Nicolas Batum, who had four blocks as well, some of which came in transition on Matt Barnes.
In the fourth, the lead would get to down to 10 with seven and a half minutes left, but then Mike Brown put the starters back in and Kobe made two nice shots to keep the lead at bay and get the bench cleared in the last two minutes.
Kobe wrapped up his night with 28 points on 13-26 shooting. Bynum pulled down 19 rebounds to go with his 14 points. Gasol had 16 points and 12 rebounds and Steve Blake ended with 17 after his hot second quarter.
At Blaze'rs Edge there were little moral victories involved with Portland's comeback:
The Portland Trail Blazers can dig themselves out of many self-imposed holes, but a 30-point second quarter deficit against the Los Angeles Lakers was just too much. Despite a somewhat ho-hum comeback, the Lakers easily held on in the fourth quarter to add to the Blazers' road woes.
For more from the Lakers perspective, check out Silver Screen and Roll.