Lakers end the streak, beat Blazers at the Rose Garden
PORTLAND — The Trail Blazers were without Brandon Roy.
The Los Angeles Lakers were without Kobe Bryant.
And as each shorthanded team matched up without its premier player, it was the Lakers who rose up and got the best of the Blazers.
Los Angeles downed Portland, 99-82, Saturday evening at the Rose Garden before a sold-out crowd of 20,688.
In the process, the Blazers’ home-court dominance over the Lakers came to a crashing halt.
Portland had defeated Los Angeles nine consecutive times in the Rose City.
But Lamar Odom’s career- and game-high 22 rebounds and 10 points guided the Lakers (39-13) to their first regular-season road victory over the Blazers since Feb. 23, 2005.
“They’re world champs for a reason,” Portland coach Nate McMillan said.
LaMarcus Aldridge scored a team-high 16 points to lead the Blazers (30-23), while Andre Miller added 14 points, six assists and four rebounds.
“It was just one of those nights where we couldn’t find it,” Aldridge said.
The Blazers are 7-7 since Roy strained his right hamstring Jan. 13 against Milwaukee.
It was announced Saturday that Portland’s star guard will be out through at least the NBA All-Star break. No timetable has been set for his return.
During Roy’s absence, the Blazers have fallen into a tie with Oklahoma City for eighth place in the Western Conference playoff chase. Portland sits five games behind first-place Denver in the Northwest Division.
“We’re in the fight of our lives,” McMillan said.
Ron Artest poured in 21 points on 9-of-12 shooting and hit 3 of his 4 3-point attempts to top Los Angeles,
while Shannon Brown contributed 19 points.
Los Angeles slowed down the tempo and pounded the ball inside against a Blazers team using three forwards to fill in for a lack of a center.
“I thought the Trail Blazers were giving us opportunities out there that we could take advantage of,” Los Angeles coach Phil Jackson said.
The Lakers outrebounded Portland 47-30, and Los Angeles collected 48 points in the point compared to the Blazers’ 22.
Portland looked a world removed from the team that defeated the Lakers 107-98 Jan. 8 as a “Beat L.A.!” chant rang throughout the Rose Garden.
But McMillan and 16-year veteran Juwan Howard cautioned that the lopsided loss was just one game out of 82.
To both, the Blazers’ season-long effort to persevere in the face of adversity has not changed course.
Now, Portland must ensure it finishes strong heading into the All-Star break so that its resilience is not wasted.
“We have to continue to keep fighting,” Howard said.
Up 29-26 after the first quarter, Howard and Aldridge carried Portland early.
But 11 second-period points by Artest — including two consecutive 3-pointers at the end of the second period — pushed the Lakers to a 54-48 halftime advantage.
“They were big,” said McMillan, referring to Artest’s 3s.
A 3-point barrage by Derek Fisher then stretched Los Angeles’ lead to 73-64 heading into the fourth quarter.
And the Lakers pulled ahead by as many as 19 late in the final period.
“We’ve got to figure out how we’re going to protect this home court,” Portland guard Andre Miller said. “That’s the problem this year.”
Blazers founder Harry Glickman was honored during the game, marking the official 40-year anniversary of the franchise. Glickman received an honorary Rip City jersey. … Bryant (sprained left ankle) was a late scratch. He missed his first game in 235 contests. McMillan suggested that Lakers coach Phil Jackson may have held Bryant out in an attempt to challenge the his team. … Los Angeles center Andrew Bynum played just 9:33 after injuring his hip.
Blazers founder Harry Glickman was honored during the game, marking the official 40-year anniversary of the franchise. Glickman received an honorary Rip City jersey. … Bryant (sprained left ankle) was a late scratch. He missed his first game in 235 contests. McMillan suggested that Lakers coach Phil Jackson may have held Bryant out in an attempt to challenge the his team. Jackson said Bryant decided not to play one hour before tipoff, and is listed as day-to day. … Los Angeles center Andrew Bynum played just 9:33 after injuring his hip.
Best Blazer: Andre Miller scored 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting, dished out six assists and grabbed four rebounds.
Big numbers: Los Angeles outrebounded Portland 47-30, led by Lamar Odom’s career-high 22 boards.
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