Portland got a big effort from their three representatives in New York to close out the first half of the season.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 18 points and 12 rebounds, Wesley Matthews had 20 points, Damian Lillard had 15 points and 8 assists, and the Portland Trail Blazers went into the All-Star Break by pounding the Los Angeles Lakers, 102-86, Wedneday night at Moda Center.
Facing a starting five without a single player averaging double digits in scoring, the Blazers ran out to an immediate 7-0 run. The young Lakers lineup kept the game close from there, but when Los Angeles subbed out for its veteran bench, Portland went to work in a big way. Lillard had nine in the quarter, Matthews had eight, and the Blazers extended their lead to as many as ten. They would lead by eight after one.
CJ McCollum had been averaging seven points in the second quarter over his last three games, and proudly continued that streak with seven in the second quarter to lead the Blazers. Thomas Robinson added four, but the Portland starters shot just 2-of-12 in the period. Los Angeles did not fare any better, shooting 36% as a team in the quarter, but kept the game close with 16 second chance points in the half. With neither team finding a rhythm, the Blazers kept their eight point advantage at halftime.
Portland started the second half with what can only be described as a systematic annihilation of the Lakers defense. The Blazers kicked off a 17-4 run, Matthews had ten points in under four minutes, Aldridge had ten in the quarter, Robin Lopez had five, and Portland led by as many as 23. They would take the 23 point lead into the fourth quarter after Steve Blake got two free throws when he was fouled at the buzzer.
The Blazers played loose for much of the fourth quarter while holding onto their lead, and the Lakers were unable to close without an effective lead scorer after Nick Young left with an ankle injury.
Meyers Leonard led the bench scoring with 11. Portland hit 22-of-23 free throws on the night, with Lopez providing the only miss. Lopez finished with 10 points and 9 rebounds.
Gameday Thread Comments of the Night
Thanks to all who hung out in tonight's Gameday Thread! Here were a few favorite comments from a very relaxed evening of basketball:
We're a playoff team, yet we still get to watch the likes of CJ and Meyers develop. We are truly being spoilt right now.
It's truly amazing that we have the same record as last year at this point
Meyers [is not playing during] garbage time!! He’s made it!!!!
The Trail Blazers have now defeated the Lakers in 4 straight games, their longest win streak in the series since 1997 (4 games). #PORvsLAL— Trail Blazers PR (@TrailBlazersPR) February 12, 2015
Since returning to the lineup on Jan. 24, LaMarcus Aldridge has averaged 25.2 points and 11.0 rebounds in nine games.— Trail Blazers PR (@TrailBlazersPR) February 12, 2015
With win over Lakers, #Blazers are 36-17, the exact same record they had going into last season's All-Star break.— Mike Tokito (@mtokito) February 12, 2015
In five games since returning to the lineup on Feb. 3, Robin Lopez has averaged 11.4 points on 24-for-42 FG (57.1%).— Trail Blazers PR (@TrailBlazersPR) February 12, 2015
Meyers Leonard has averaged 7.5 points and 5.7 rebounds on 59.8% FG (46.3% 3-PT) since the beginning of 2015 (19 games).— Trail Blazers PR (@TrailBlazersPR) February 12, 2015
"We're the surprise team." Coach Stotts #Blazers— Amy Schwartz (@TheAmySchwartz) February 12, 2015
Players in the locker room half teasing @MeyersLeonard11's re: not passing up three-pointers— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) February 12, 2015
"I would like to start." -- @aldridge_12 re: All-Star— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) February 12, 2015
Aldridge on Wes and the 3-pt comp, joking: "I told him go win it. .. Come back with a win or don't come back at all." #Blazers— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) February 12, 2015
Nick Young's All-Star break plans: "I'm gonna go get my revenge on some dolphins."— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) February 12, 2015
More Aldridge humor; asked if he expects same team back (trade DL) after the break: "I just hope I'm here after the deadline." #Blazers— Jabari Young (@JabariJYoung) February 12, 2015
While @trailblazers have the same record as they had last season at the ASB, they r 8 games ahead of OKC now. A year ago they were 6 behind.— Brian Wheeler (@blazerwheels) February 12, 2015
#Blazers are 3-0 against the Lakers this season, the first time they've beaten them three times in a season since 1996-97— kerry eggers (@kerryeggers) February 12, 2015
VIDEO: Blazers owner Paul Allen and general manager Neil Olshey present Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge with their All Star jerseys prior to the game.
VIDEO: Damian Lillard uses a nifty spin move to get the hoop and the harm.
VIDEO: Steve Blake sends a dime to a cutting Damian Lillard, who finds LaMarcus Aldridge for the floater in the lane.
VIDEO: Wesley Matthews dives to the floor to save the ball and Damian Lillard validates Matthews' effort with a one-handed dunk.