That was quite the fun game. But in the end, the Blazers became the #1 team in the West (technically, since they beat the Spurs earlier this season) after beating the Lakers, 114-108.
The Lakers have been resilient for most of the season and they showed that in this game. L.A. was down, 21-4, at one point. But they caught the Blazers in the second half as they got a great boost from Xavier Henry and Robert Sacre. Unfortunately, Jordan Farmar was lost to a hamstring injury, which was pretty big considering how well he has played this season, especially the last few games. I was ready for Steve Blake to play the entire second half; the Lakers aren’t going to play until Friday so I didn’t see any problems with him going the distance.
Unfortunately, the Blazers’ shooting and ball movement overwhelmed the Lakers in the third. They dropped 41 in that quarter and it seemed like it was over by then. The Lakers’ starters couldn’t get anything going and Mike D’Antoni went with a ragtag bunch.
The weird line-up of Robert Sacre, Wesley Johnson, Shawne Williams, Nick Young, and Xavier Henry (who played point in place of a tired Blake) got the Lakers back in the game. They were energetic on both sides of the ball (Xavier Henry’s dunks, Jodie Meeks’ threes, and Wesley Johnson’s block really got the Staples crowd unglued) and were able to get the team within one. But Wesley Matthews (who has been so good behind the arc this season) and Damian Lillard (26 points) made huge three-pointers. The Lakers really had no business being in a close game after being down 20 twice but they made it one hell of an entertaining contest. Like I’ve said many times in the past, sometimes, that’s all you can ask for.
Henry led the way with a career-high 27 points. Jodie Meeks had 20 points, Nick Young had 17, and Steve Blake had 13 points and nine assists. Robert Sacre had 12 points, a career-high for himself. And Shawne Williams (four points, eight rebounds) made big plays in the fourth as well. Pau Gasol played horribly (six points on 3/15 shooting, although a bad ankle is bothering him) after a few good games. The Lakers had won five of six coming into this game and this loss stops a little momentum but these guys are just so fun to watch since most of us had no expectations for the team. As for Portland, LaMarcus Aldridge was nearly unstoppable early; he had 27 points overall.
Funny thing is that the Lakers are 9-9. That’s a better 18-game start than last year’s team when they were 8-10; that squad was superstar-laden if you guys remember *cough*. The Lakers don’t play again until Friday when they go to Sleep Train Arena (zzzzzzzzz) to face the Sacramento Kings. A certain dude who wears #24 may come back to the Lakers for that game (sorry; it’s not Lloyd Daniels or Jim Jackson). THAT could be interesting.
In the meantime, we’ll have a little injury watch (Farmar, Steve Nash, Kobe) this week before the Lakers play again. The Lakers just had four straight days off two weeks ago, too. Weird scheduling.
Entertaining game, everybody.