While visiting Hollywood, the Portland Trail Blazers kindly agreed to a supporting role in a film entitled, "How the Lakers Got Their Groove Back".
The Blazers were led by the hot-shooting LaMarcus Aldridge, who finished with 26 points in short minutes. Unfortunately, his three rebounds did not help the cause against Dwight Howard. Speaking of not helping the cause, let's talk about the rest of the Blazers. Damian Lillard had a miserable game, shooting 4-17 and finishing with 11 points and 4 assists. Nicolas Batum added 10 points and 8 rebounds. And JJ Hickson's double-double streak deservedly ended, as he struggled to 2 point, 8 board night against a dominant Howard (21 points, 14 rebounds).
First Quarter: The Blazers kept it close early, but it within six minutes their poor interior defense spotted the Lakers with a 9 point lead. Credit to the Lakers, they knew the defense was suspect, and they immediately hammered on the Blazers inside, scoring more points in the paint than the Blazers had total. Lillard was shut down completely, but Aldridge did whatever he could to keep things close. It wasn't enough; after 8 minutes, the Lakers led by 12. Lillard even botched a wide open fast-break dunk. Sasha Pavlovic hit a few shots to cut the lead to 7, and the lead was 9 at the end of the quarter.
My two least favorite things in basketball [are] a Blazers loss and a Lakers win. I hate nights like this.
by Jonathan Wright
Second Quarter: Howard owned Meyers Leonard early, for an easy three-point play. Ok just kidding, he missed the free throw. Meanwhile, playing with the bench, Lillard finally warmed up at the other end, scoring five quick points to cut the deficit to 4. The Blazer bench kept it close for a few minutes, but just a couple good possessions by the Lakers bumped the lead back to double figures. That brought the Blazer starters (minus Hickson) back into the game, who...
We interrupt this recap for breaking news. Hack-A-Dwight has officially begun.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, if you dislike watching Dwight at the line all night), he made four straight free throws. That stopped the Blazers cold. Soon, they needed another timeout when the Laker lead reached 13. It didn't help. The Lakers ramped up the defense, and packed the lane for the boards, and seconds later, the lead was 20. Aldridge's hot shooting continued though eventually scoring 20 in the first half. When combined with a few boneheaded Laker plays, the Blazers closed the gap to 14 at halftime.
After that onslaught we're only down by 14. Feels like it should be 30
Third Quarter: Aldridge personally kept the Blazers in the Lakers rear view mirror early. But they couldn't catch a break. Howard finally missed a free throw, and a Laker rebound led to three free throws by Kobe Bryant. 5 seconds later, he added a steal and layup. The Lakers moved to a strong, swarming defense, and the Blazers struggled to find the right pass to get the easy shot. Speaking of struggling, that was an apt term for Meyers Leonard, who looked lost on defense and rebounding, giving the Lakers easy second opportunities. They took advantage of them, and led by 22 after three.
by Tyler Durrden
Fourth Quarter: Two Words. Garbage. Time. Let's not recap it, and pretend we did.
Stay tuned for Dave's analysis later tonight. The Blazers are back in action tomorrow night, at home against Philly. -- Tim