Lakers steamroll over powerless Blazers 103-92
To anyone that missed the first half of this game: Be glad you did as we hoped the Portland Trail Blazers (17-16) would improve their woeful road record when taking on a decent-yet-not-as-good-as-they-used-to-be Lakers team (19-13). After Raymond Felton hit a three to start things off, Portland’s chances to grab any lead took a dive bomb, as the Blazers missed six straight shots, shot 14% from the floor and watched helplessly as Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum and Steve Blake run circles and make the Blazers look like a complete joke on national television. Scoring just seven points in the first quarter, it was enough damage that even as Portland came back behind ten and outscored Los Angeles in the other quarters, a 30-point halftime hole was too much, losing 103-92.
You read that opening paragraph right. The Blazers score just seven points in the first quarter, allowing the Lakers to build a 10-0 run, feed the ball to Bynum and Pau Gasol down low in the paint, and Portland doesn’t give LaMarcus Aldridge until three minutes go by and even he can’t find his rhythm. For much of the first half, the Blazers looked lost, no energy, no heart, life or ball movement. Settling for jump shots when they aren’t falling isn’t helping anyones cause and Portland feared the paint until halftime. The Lakers end the first quarter up 29-7 in what would be Portland’s lowest scoring quarter this season and it would end being just 3-17 from the field.
The Lakers’ mammoth run would balloon to 19-0 that reaches 5:30 minutes long on account of former Blazer point guard Steve Blake, who comes off the bench and has been struggling shooting the three as of late. You wouldn’t know by watching him though, he hits two wide open threes as Portland just cannot seem to follow him after the pick and roll and just stand around and watch. A few Bynum shots down low and the Laker lead is now 37-7. When will the madness stop?! As the Blazers shot 15%, Aldridge manages to stop some massive bleeding to give them their first bucket in seven minutes. More threes from Blake and Bryant, and some five quick points off of Nicolas Batum and the Lakers roll into the half up 52-30, Portland’s lowest shooting half of the season.
From here on out, Portland would live on the three ball to get themselves back into this game. As the TNT announcers noticed, Portland would actually climb out of a 30-point hole to be down 20, then 15, then 12 and then bam, it’s a 10-point game late in the fourth. Bryant who sat out most of the second half had to come in the fourth and with his presence he stopped Portland from reaching single digits. The Blazers would have multiple runs that consist of 16-4 and 8-0 runs at different points, but the first quarter massacre was the deal breaker, the Lakers would end the game on a 6-0 run and hand the Blazers one of their most embarrassing defeats on cable television and inch closer to being a .500 team.
The only Blazer worth mentioning in a game like this would be the rising of Nicolas Batum who has blossomed since starting at shooting guard, getting some love from the national television crew, Batum finished with 18 Pts, 6 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Stl and 4 Blk, two coming from chasing Matt Barnes on the fast break to further prove that he’s the guy you don’t want chasing you as you run towards the basket. Like earlier, the three-point shot was the key that gave Portland a more respectable score than it actually was; Gerald Wallace 1-3; Raymond Felton 2-2; Batum 3-7; Wesley Matthews 3-5; Elliot Williams 1-1 and Jamal Crawford 2-5.
Like usual Kobe Bryant scored a game high 28 Pts, 3 Ast, 4 Stl with Steve Blake coming with 17 Pts and 5-6 from downtown, Pau Gasol had 16 Pts, 12 Reb and Andrew Bynum proved that he is one of the best centers in the West with 14 Pts and 19 Reb. The Lakers blew away Portland in all statistical categories which aren’t worth mentioning…okay so how about out rebounding Portland 51-37? Makes your eyes bleed huh?
Portland will be looking forward to the All-Star break but they have to face the white-hot San Antonio Spurs and their 11-game winning streak at the Rose Garden the next day. If the Blazers want to win they have to show just more effort and never ever put up single digits in one-quarter ever again.
photos courtesy of oregonlive.com/blazers