From Brian Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: Ron Artest. Flat. Out. Huge. He’s had big games over the course of his relatively short Lakers career (you might remember a certain shot in a certain Finals game last season), but this very well could have been the best. Certainly it’s his best of this season. 24 points on eight-of-13 from the floor, plus five-of-six from beyond the arc. Artest was strong early, canning a triple for L.A.’s first points of the game, and critical late, drilling another triple late in regulation. In the five free minutes, Artest hit another three putting the Lakers up 95-92, and hauled down a critical offensive rebound leading to the Kobe Bryant jumper effectively giving the L.A. the game.
From Kevin Ding, OC Register: Kobe Bryant says former Denver Nugget and now New York Knick Carmelo Anthony is “a bad boy” in the best sense. Takes one to know one. The Lakers were hauled into overtime Wednesday night on Bryant’s back — or rather his back-to-back jumpers to finish the regulation scoring, the last shot a 15-footer that had just enough on it to crawl over the rim. Then in overtime Bryant got the gritty, aggressive effort on offense he has been prodding co-star Pau Gasol to bring. With that, the Lakers scored a 106-101 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.
From Mark Medina, LA Times: It’s safe to presume the Lakers were in a much better mood following their double-digit victory Tuesday over Atlanta after the All-Star break than when they were riddled with a three-game losing streak, including a loss to the listless Cleveland Cavaliers. But overtime victories in well-fought games against a quality opponent proves something that’s more valuable in the long run. It tested the Lakers’ willingness to grind it out and maintain their patience when things weren’t working out, such as when the Lakers shot only 41.5% in the first half, were outrebounded 21-16 and allowed a 10-2 start to slip away to a 29-23 first-quarter deficit. Lakers Hall of Famer Magic Johnson appropriately tweeted that “I won’t get too excited until they win 7 or 8 in a row!” But a victory against Portland surely has to be a momentum boost toward that effort considering the win snapped the Trail Blazers’ six-game winning streak and marked the Lakers’ second consecutive victory at the Rose Garden after losing nine in a row.
From Dexter Fishmore, Silver Screen and Roll: This isn’t the Lakers’ best road win of the season – the victory in Boston still tops the list – but it’s pretty damn good nonetheless. The Lakers, after all, played in Los Angeles just yesterday. Late last night they had to travel over 800 miles to some barely civilized hinterland. The last 150 miles of the trip were on horseback, as the Oregon Territory has neither an airport nor paved roads. In fact, Oregon doesn’t actually appear on most maps. There’s just an unbordered space marked with the warning “HERE THERE BE MONSTERS” and a drawing of an otter.
From Anne M. Peterson, NBA.com: Kobe Bryant had 37 points and the Los Angeles Lakers overcame a 10-point deficit late in the fourth quarter to beat Portland 106-101 in overtime Wednesday night, snapping the Trail Blazers’ season-best, six-game winning streak. LaMarcus Aldridge had 29 points and 14 rebounds for the Blazers, but didn’t hit a shot in the fourth quarter and missed two key free throws in the extra period. Lamar Odom and Ron Artest each hit a 3-pointer to help Los Angeles to a 95-92 lead in overtime. Rudy Fernandez responded with a tying 3 and Andre Miller’s jumper gave the Blazers the lead, but Pau Gasol hit a turnaround hook shot and added a free throw before Bryant’s jumper with 27.9 seconds left gave Los Angeles a 100-97 advantage. Gasol fouled Aldridge, who missed both free throws to all but seal it for the Lakers.