Streeter Lecka / Getty Images

Oh curses, shmurses. That’s two in a row at the Rose Garden for the Lakers (including last season). Me thinks I feel the turning of the tide, and hopefully for good this time. This is how Champions pursue victory after all – by being patient yet persistent; cautious yet confident.

The Lakers could have taken their early 10-2 lead to start the game and run with it. Instead, they allowed the Blazers to go on a 9-0 run to take the lead; a lead that would jostle back and forth for much of the first quarter until the home team captured a lead that would last for the greater part of the game. But not even a double digit lead in the fourth quarter could force these Lakers to mail it in. That’s not how they operate, and thank goodness for that.

One reason for Portland’s success early in this game was Lamarcus Aldridge. In the first half alone he had already scored 18 of his 29 points on 8-10 from the field. He also grabbed 14 rebounds and had three steals. Whether guarded by Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom or Andrew Bynum, Aldridge was in his own world, scoring from wherever, whenever and over whomever he pleased. Having taken on leadership responsibilities in place of the injured Brandon Roy, Aldridge’s play of late left everyone wondering why he wasn’t included on the All-Star team.

Playing just as well behind Aldridge were Nicolas Batum (22 points on 7-16, 4-9 from 3PT) and Wesley Matthews (22 points on 9-18). Unfortunately, other than these three Blazers, the home team didn’t get much from anyone else.

Lucky for the Lakers, their roster is stacked with players who, you know, can do stuff. And at the top of the heap tonight for putting out his right stuff was Ron Artest. His first three to put the Lakers on the board should have been a warning signal to Portland – CAUTION: WILL SHOOT FROM BEHIND THIS LINE AND SCORE. Artest put up 24 points on 8-13, including 5-6 from beyond the arc! He also had six rebounds, four assists and two steals.

Kobe Bryant was 4-15 in the first half but went 10-16 in the second. His clutch mentality (no matter what that Blazer fan Henry Abbott says) is unmatched. With the Lakers behind by seven points, he threw a pass to Artest for three. He then followed that with back to back fadeaways that tied the score and gave the team a 5-minute long chance at victory in the city that has been so strangely difficult for them. In overtime he hit yet another jumper and converted all six of his free throws.

With just over 19 seconds left in overtime, the Blazers had a chance to inch closer to the score when Pau Gasol (18 points on 8-15, 14 rebounds, five assists and a block) was called for a foul and Aldridge was given two free throws…both of which he missed, thereby cementing his team’s demise.

It wasn’t the easiest, most seamless win for the Lakers (because that honor goes to the 55-point blowout vs. Cleveland), but it was probably one of their hardest fought victories. These are the types of wins that are encouraging; even moreso than the occasional blowout. While double-digit wins are fun and less stressful, it is the ability to overcome deficits or play tenaciously in tight games that show the most character. Tonight, the defending champs trailed in just the first quarter, tied Portland in the second, and then won every quarter thereafter, including overtime. They shot 11-18 from behind the arc, hit 13 of their 15 free throws.

The Lakers made adjustments all game long, despite the bad calls, the missed calls, the flurry of turnovers (16), etc. They provided themselves the best chances to win this game by strengthening their defense, running their offense properly, and rebounding. Sometimes, it really is just that simple.

Box Score
Pre-game Thoughts: Hit 40 before you hit 20 – That was Phil Jackson’s message to the team. Get to 40 wins before you get to 20 losses. Not the best place to encourage this since a win at the Rose Garden has become the impossible dream for the Lakers, but they won it last season, and that was without Kobe in the line-up. Maybe the tide is finally turning…maybe.
Half-time Thoughts: 41-47 – The Lakers had an early 10-2 lead but in typical game-at-the-Rose-Garden fashion, they eventually trailed and continued to do so until the break. Neither team has played perfectly, but it’s obvious who is locked into this game more and it’s not the players in purple and gold. Portland’s Lamarcus Aldridge already has 18 points on 8-10. Lamar Odom was hit with his third foul with still four minutes left in the second quarter so Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol will more than likely play more minutes to compensate. Kobe Bryant is 4-15 from the field but has five assists. If the Lakers want to give themselves a real chance to win this game, the defense has to be quicker, the rebounding has to improve, and the turnovers have to stop.
Most Thoughtless Play(s)/Player(s) of the Game: It sounds like such a cop-out to blame officiating but some of tonight’s calls (and non-calls) were so out of this world ridiculous that it bears mentioning. If Rudy Fernandez’s clear out of bounds call was actually called, an overtime wouldn’t have been necessary. Lamarcus Aldridge AND Joel Pryzbilla hacking Andrew Bynum AT THE SAME TIME with a referee standing three feet away and no free throws? That was just as bad too. But in the end, the Lakers got the win. Just goes to show that it is indeed possible to play through questionable officiating.
Most Thought-filled Play(s)/Player(s) of the Game: Kobe Bryant was clutch down the stretch but the Lakers won this game due to the play of Ron Artest. That run to end the fourth quarter may have been punctuated by Bryant’s back to back field goals, but it was Artest who kept the team in this game.

  • pb2000

    Great game (First? Maybe!)

  • sopi

    5 vs 8, not a bad game.
    lakers only shot 11 free throws during the regular quarters.
    FUCKK NBA REFEREES

    • Zeki Kayiran

      5 vs 8 is what we get almost every game. Was there any reason to think that with Leon (LAKER HATER) Wood, Ron (JUST LIKE HIS LAKER HATER DADDY DARRELL) Garrettson, and Laker hater in training Marat Kogut, that this would have been a fair game?

      One correction. The Lakers actually shot only 8 free throws in regulation. Six of the 15 total came in the last 18 seconds when the Blazers had to stop the game. I am sure the clown zebras would not have called those if it was not for Portland’s benefit.

      This is a fact of life for the Lakers, and they will have to win it despite the zebras.

  • Brown Hater

    Nice to that the Lakers can finally pull out a win after trailing by double digits for once. Still not that impressed though the really test will be coming soon.

    • Short Perro Slash F U Hater

      Biitch whats up with that name. Punk.
      Shannon Brown or the Raza.
      don’t disrespect.
      Have you gone to the Staples center lately you piece of shit.
      Brown Pride and #12 Pride.
      Laker Pride
      Laker Nation

  • http://www.jackyang.info Jack

    It was great to see the Lakers fight back despite very questionable refs last night.

  • Tyler

    The refs were AWFUL. However, I don’t think I’ve been this excited wacthing the lakers play all year. What a game

  • Niko

    Two words.

    LEON. WOODS.

  • purple-n-gold

    Refs were terrible, they were giving the blazers all the calls, they should be supended without pay mr stern do your job.

  • xtro

    still need to trade in my opinion despite the win

  • Eric tione

    Lakers front office should be all over this game, in fact they should go over ever game this season and put all the non calls, questionable calls, and game changing calls all in a package set dvds and send it to the NBA commissioner for some explanations. I still havent forgotting Lakers v Magic first lost on the grammy trip. Closing secs before halftime, Jameer Nelson clearly hacking and reaching and body checking Kobe in front of the ref and no call. After that incident the magic had a field day on the free throw line. Theres are alot of calls that go on in NBA for all teams. But its hard to give the refs some slack. When you can flip on lets say a Spurs v Thunder game and Durant can throw up his hands and get a foul call instantly. Or Tony Parker driving the lane makes contact and hits the free throw line any time he wants. ALSO notice during Laker games on ESPN or ABC they never show foul stats for the teams the Lakers are playing. Or they forget to bring up lakers ranking among teams with fouls called or giving.

  • Dragon

    Lakers weren’t playing that well at the end but good thing the blazers got cold at the end they were shooting 3′s like they were shooting layups. I think Blake need to step up his game because he should be our go to guy for the 3′s but man he can’t make anything.

  • ICE CREAM MAN

    When Artest does bad, everyone is on him but when he does great now one says anything. Well, let me be the first here posting that ARTEST was the best player tonight. Yes Kobe made the shots in the end but if it wasn’t for Artest, Kobe shots would of been for nothing. Great job Artest, continue with the intensity and the great effort.

    • http://thelakersnation.com Joshua Herrington

      I praised Ron last night, and I mentioned how he carried this team the first three quarters. Its on the pregame article.

      • ICE CREAM MAN

        Well, all I’m saying is that 17 people post so far and only 2 of us is saying good job to artest. More people need to give props to the people that deserve it.

    • http://thelakersnation.com Josh Herrington

      You’re absolutely right. He was clutch in the fourth when Kobe trusted him. Without Ron and Pau in the first half, the Lakers could’ve dug themselves in a serious hole they wouldn’t get out of.
      .
      At half time, I was praising Ron for his work because I knew Kobe would come alive in the second half.
      .
      The Goal for the Lakers should be to continues their relentless effort on defense and offense. If they do this, they should be able to hang with Miami.
      .
      In all honesty, I was surprised when the Lakers came back from that ten-point deficit. I was surprised with Ron’s play. I have seen Ron and The Lakers play this way but from the previous three games ( excluding The Hawks), I did not expect this play.
      .
      I appreciate the play; I just didn’t predict it. Everyone else played well despite the poor officiating. Why was there not a technical called on LA for throwing the ball on Pau?? I hope we don’t see this type of bias officiating Friday.
      .
      Go Lakers!

      • ICE CREAM MAN

        It’s probably me but everytime the ref that threw out bynum for saying “are you serious?” is officiating the game, the lakers get the short end of the stick. I have yet to see him make a call go the lakers way. Maybe just me?…

  • sancho

    Good win but I am still not impressed. Lakers have to keep up the wins and punish teams all the way to the 3peat.

  • TimD

    Great win. It felt like the first real gritty comeback win of the season, and hopefully it gives us some momentum moving forward. Could not believe that was Ron-Ron out there knocking down those shots. Haha.

  • http://yahoo jaydubb415

    I understand this site being a specific team fan site so im not exspecting them to be constantley updating sporting news like NBA ,Com or even ESPN.COM ,but damm even about laker news it seems to be a few steps behind is it because he people running it our on th east coast? Because if their not that is know exscuse for beig this tardy hell we don’t get the laker scores until 2 to 3 hours after the game.I know i’m probably coming off as a winer and i’m cool with that and i don’t have a problem with the people on here because i dont i really do like the site i just wish they were a little bit faster with the ”Laker news”!#$% everybody else.Or maybe i’m just pissed that we are so qiuet right about now when we should at the least trade the water boy hell anybody lol maybe thats the reason why i’m erked????

    • http://yahoo jaydubb415

      Lol sorry for all the misspelled words lmao at the least if i’m going to bitch i should spell the words correctly lmao my bad yall my keys get stuck.

    • Anna

      hey jaydubb. sorry i’ve taken so long to get the post-game reports up. I do have a full-time job other than what i do for this site, which makes it difficult sometimes to get the reports up quicker, but I’ll do my best.
      .
      as far as news goes, my colleagues always try to stay on top of Laker news but I’ll be sure to let them know your concern. Thanks.

      • http://thelakersnation.com Josh Herrington

        I think the guys from NBA.com only give us a brief summary of the game. Not even the writers from the Lakers’ NBA page have the full article up until early next day or late that night.

      • Dameon

        I think Anna does a fine job, and her articles are generally timely, its not easy to come up with an article that is well articulated the way she does, personally NBA.com should hire her for their articles

        • http://thelakersnation.com Josh Herrington

          Agreed, Dameon.

  • lakersallthewayy

    good win but i wont be impressed untill we win 7 or 8 in a row, we made so much mistakes this season that now we can’t get too excited but i really hope lakers can play like this for the rest of the season and at least get the number 2 seed in the west

    ron artest has been doing great for the past 2 games, is he taking steroids or something hahahah JKJK whatever it is, keep it up LOL whenever artest plays good, NO ONE stands a chance!

  • Nate Mcmillian

    Ron Adobe Artest 5-6 from 3 have not seen that since the Sacremento days.

  • xtro

    thunder vs lakers in the wcf now that okc acquired perkins, mohammed and nate robinson. still picking the lakers to win though

    • ICE CREAM MAN

      I’m not too worried about them. Too many guys and only 23 days for them to mesh, learn the office/defense and play as a team. Perkins too out of shape to run up and down w/ the thunder, not used to it because the celdicks was a half court team.

  • LakerMarc

    NICE JOB ANNA! GREAT STORY.

  • fingerpointin

    big win,great game,artest,kobe pau,stayed competitive when I thought with all the ref issues they were going to loose their focus,I was surprised and pleased to get out of there with a hard fought win,,,,,,

  • 1234567

    No one said the road to the end would be the easiest. Not to look ahead, but our schedule only gets tougher till the playoffs, which i think is the best indicator of how prepared we will be for the playoffs.
    -Road game against the new OKC
    -4 game trip against 3 teams that are title contenders
    -A stretch of home games and most of them against playoff teams
    -2 games in the hardest places for the lakers to play (portland and utah)
    -then top it off playing OKC andSan Antonio again
    So a whole lot of games that are considered tough tests to pass. Getting a 80% or better is what will show complete readiness. But taking one game at a time, getting the team to full health, and clicking on all cylingers is a must.

  • NBAmazkingKB24

    trade deadline…
    I was just wondering if we are making any trades?
    any rumors? and any info on the Lakers move?

    • lakers

      no, lakers confirmed that they didn’t make any trades

    • Barracuda

      “We are going to pay attention [to any waived players],” Kupchak said. “Typically, the guys that get waived are veterans on bad teams in the last year of a deal and they go their general manager and beg to be released.”

    • Barracuda

      Kupchak also said…”I do like the roster as it is and they certainly deserve a chance to defend their title,”

    • http://bigleaguewiffleball.com/ Jon L.

      I don’t see the Lakers making any moves unless it would be for a bought out veteran, such as Rip Hamilton or another guy like that.