A poor night shooting and rebounding put Portland in danger, but another fantastic fourth quarter from Damian Lillard saved the day.
Damian Lillard had 39 points, LaMarcus Aldridge had 21 points and 8 rebounds, and the Portland Trail Blazers overcame the Los Angeles Lakers at Moda Center, 98-94, Monday night.
Lillard kicked off the first quarter with nine points to lead Portland, but Jordan Hill answered with eight on 4-of-4 shooting. Scary moment for the Blazers when Wesley Matthews went down with an apparent left leg injury early in the period, but he returned after a four minute stint in the locker room. Portland has difficulty on the defensive glass without Lopez or Freeland, but managed to hold a one point lead after one.
The scoring from long range in the second quarter did not come from Batum or Matthews, but from Meyers Leonard, who scored eight in the period, including two threes. Leonard had an overall strong quarter with four rebounds as well. During the quarter, Aldridge grabbed his 3,390th career defensive rebound, placing him first in Trail Blazers history in that category. Yet the shots continued to not fall for Portland, and they took a slim two point lead into halftime, 47-45.
Los Angeles took the lead in the third quarter, getting out to as far as ten. Aldridge had six in the quarter, but Lillard and Matthews combined to shoot 2-of-8. A late rally by Portland cut the lead to three after three quarters.
The Blazers opened the final period shooting 1-of-9 as Los Angles held an eight point lead. Finally with under five minutes to play, everything clicked. Lillard hit back-to-back threes, Aldridge converted an alley-oop to give Portland the lead. They expanded the lead to four, but free throws by Nick Young and Jeremy Lin gave the Lakers the lead back. Lillard converted a layup to re-take the lead, then hit two free throws after a Young miss. He had 15 in the period. Lin missed a three from the top of the key, and Aldridge sealed the game with a pair of free throws.
Leonard had 12 points and 12 rebounds, his first double-double since March 30, 2013 versus Golden State. Chris Kaman had 8 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 blocks starting for first time as a Trail Blazer.
Gameday Thread Comments of the Night
Thanks to all who participated in tonight's Gameday Thread! Here were the most popular comments, based on number of rec's.
The Trail Blazers have now entered the fourth quarter behind at the Moda Center eight times this season and won six of those games.— Trail Blazers PR (@TrailBlazersPR) January 6, 2015
Damian Lillard's 39 points are the second-most by a Trail Blazer ever against the Lakers (43-Clyde Drexler, 4/21/89). #PORvsLAL— Trail Blazers PR (@TrailBlazersPR) January 6, 2015
Not really sure why, but @rolopez42 stood and listened to Byron Scott's post game press conference— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) January 6, 2015
Matthews is calling his injury a hyperextended knee...said he doesn't expect to miss time #Blazers— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) January 6, 2015
Injured Robin Lopez just stopped Byron Scott in the hallway to tell him he was named after Laker great. Middle name is Byron.— Bill Oram (@billoram) January 6, 2015
Wesley Matthews' left knee is wrapped with ice in the #Blazers locker room post-game.— Amy Schwartz (@TheAmySchwartz) January 6, 2015
Wes Matthews stood up from his post-game, groaned, & shook his head. Could've been so much worse but he's obviously sore. #Blazers— Amy Schwartz (@TheAmySchwartz) January 6, 2015
Wesley Matthews said he felt the knee effected him more mentally than physically tonight. Said the knee hurt most of the game.— Erik Gundersen (@blazerbanter) January 6, 2015
Chris Kaman's ever-evolving nickname for Joel Freeland: The Fleabag— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) January 6, 2015
Lillard admitted he was "scared" when he saw Matthews go down. Told him so once he came back to the bench #Blazers— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) January 6, 2015
#Blazers Wesley Matthews said he suffered a hyperextension of his left knee vs. Lakers. At the moment, there are no further tests planned.— Joe Freeman (@BlazerFreeman) January 6, 2015
Damian Lillard scored 16 points in fourth quarter on 5-for-8 shooting: "I just wanted to get a little aggressive." pic.twitter.com/wnGOe5XSYV— Mike Richman (@mikegrich) January 6, 2015
Matthews had a big gauze wrap around his knee in postgame locker room. He admitted it "hurt the whole time" he played after injury, but ...— Joe Freeman (@BlazerFreeman) January 6, 2015
Matthews does not expect to miss any time. After game, he had not seen replay of play that caused injury. "I don’t know what happened."— Joe Freeman (@BlazerFreeman) January 6, 2015
Dame told me last wk that he wished he had gotten 40 vs. LAL back in his rookie year when he had 38. He thought he had 36 before final FTs.— Erik Gundersen (@blazerbanter) January 6, 2015
"You can't leave it out there on the free-throw line. That's like 'come on, man.'"-- Dame— Erik Gundersen (@blazerbanter) January 6, 2015
“I thought he was hurt. It didn’t look good on the replay. I was shocked to see him come back." Coach Stotts on Wesley Matthews #Blazers— Amy Schwartz (@TheAmySchwartz) January 6, 2015
VIDEO: Chris Kaman finishes the pick-and-roll with Damian Lillard with an authoritative one-handed dunk.
VIDEO: Wesley Matthews goes down with what appears to be a knee injury.