After last night’s loss to Denver, a game that the Lakers SHOULD have and COULD have won, a trip to the Rose Garden in Portland the day after seemed the least likely source of redemption and encouragement.

The losing streak in that arena for the Lakers is completely incomprehensible.

How can a team have that much bad luck in one place? If history served its purpose tonight, we’d be looking at another hash mark under the L-column, and given Kobe’s absence from the line-up, it might’ve been a relatively acceptable loss. Thankfully, there was no loss to accept. Instead, there is a victory to relish.

The first shot for the Lakers came from a Lamar Odom tip-in after an offensive rebound off an Andrew Bynum miss. It was a foreshadowing, to say the least, as Odom rebounded all evening to match his career-high of 22 boards. If rebounds signify effort, the Lakers were full of it, out-rebounding the Blazers 47-30 and playing a most inspired evening of basketball.

They won every quarter after the first, bearing down their defensive prowess as the game wore on.

In the 3rd quarter, the Lakers kept Portland to 16 points and then only 18 in the fourth. But it wasn’t just defense that won this game tonight. It was also a balanced offensive attack.

Shannon Brown, filling in the most minutes to cover for Kobe, was a presence from the get-go, in the end contributing 19 points, 3 rebounds and a dime.

Jordan Farmar pitched in 12 points, and even Sasha gave in his 5 cents.

Collectively, the bench contributed with 38 points, and that was without Lamar Odom.

Derek Fisher, rarely seeking to score, got 14 points, not to mention 6 assists.

Ron Artest had scored only 2 points in the first half before hitting three consecutive 3-pointers, one coming right at the buzzer to end the 2nd quarter, definitely an energy and confidence booster.

With Andrew Bynum sitting out the second half after falling on his hip in the first quarter, the need for every single player to step up was even greater. Six Lakers scored in double figures tonight, and with 24 assists to go along with just 10 turnovers, the Lakers won this one together.

There was no need for game winners tonight. A concerted effort would do… and did.

Something happened to the Blazers in the second half. Without Brandon Roy leading their pack, there was a definite loss of order and composure. The Portland crowd couldn’t bail their young team out of this one. It didn’t matter how loudly they cheered after the occasional Blazer make. The crowd was, in fact, not as rambunctious as they’ve been in the past. Maybe it’s because their team unraveled and the Lakers suddenly found themselves leading by 19. Maybe it’s because they’re not used to seeing the Lakers fight back. Or maybe, just maybe, they felt robbed that Kobe Bryant wasn’t there for them to hate.

Pre-Game Thoughts: No Kobe? In Portland? The Basketball Gods are cruel!

Half-time Thoughts: A 6-point lead after a Ron Artest buzzer-beating 3?! When was the last time the Lakers led at half-time up here?

Most Thoughtless Player of the Game: Pau Gasol, who seems to be greasing his hands with butter lately because he can barely keep control of the ball.

Most Thought-filled Player of the Game: Rebounding monster – Lamar Odom.

  • bc18

    FIRST

    • daboss1848

      definitely a resume highlight

  • chadb

    I don’t know if I’m more excited about the W or the fact that there home town broadcasters had to shut there f#$king mouth! Those commentators are the worst in the NBA – blindly biased.

    • http://TheLakersNation Marwan..

      They were just having a sulk.
      They called us bandwagon fans.
      Haha their fans stopped cheering for them as soon as they were down by 11.

    • http://thelakersnation.com/blog/category/original-articles/benchmob-beat/ Anna Gonda

      Seriously! I’m glad Joel & Stu and Spero & Mychal aren’t like that. They call the Lakers out on everything!

      • daboss1848

        They try, but no one was or will be like Chicky – Chicky called them out when they whined about refs, or lacked energy. Sunderland did that too – but he was fired for not showing the Lakers in a good light.
        Stu is a KB apologist. Mychal is a Lakers defender through and through. Joel tries being objective and Spero is just busy biting his tongue when Mychal spews nonsense.

      • Nabaniel

        Spero should be the guy to call the games on TV. Nothing wrong with Joel, but Spero is amazing. Maybe they need to keep Spero on radio because it would be so boring to have anyone else doing it. Seriously, how boring would it be to drive and have to listen to Joel call the game… They should just broadcast Spero on TV AND radio. That would rock.

        • http://twoo2.skyblog.com 2spotz

          ye i hate those portland broadcasters. they are always hating on the opposition and the refs but dont know a thing about basketball…especialy the old guy beeing the `co-broadcaster` this guys can`t shut his mouth. …when we lost last time in portland i wanted to punch him. btw in that game he said Brian Roy instead of Brandon Roy…doesnt even know the names of his own team… i Hate that guy.
          Go Spero, Mychal,Joel,Stu

    • wow….

      tell me about if, if i was ina r oom with that fuking old man i would beat his ass down to the ground and stomp all over his face, no fuking mercy

      • pauer

        Mike Rice. He’s absolutely horrible. As I mentioned in the Worst Broadcaster forum, I live in Portland, and it doesn’t matter how or who the Blazers play, he accuses the refs of being against them and acts like the Blazers are incapable of committing a foul

  • drive-for-16th

    Am i the only one or is that Odom playes waaaaaay better when he starts, and we win when he starts. something to think about ya’ll.

    • bc18

      they should. i think bynum fits better on the bench anyways, so he could get more touches. if hes off the bench and/or with the bench, he is the focal point of the offense

  • bc18

    “chicken and waffles” were the key to the game. they gave Lamar Odom the boost he needed, according to his post-game interview haha. Candyman all day!

  • http://www.jackyang.info Jack Y.

    Great win. Sux that Bynum got injured. I hope he’s alright (i.e. nothing logn term).

  • drive-for-16th

    EVERYBODY, BYNUM SAID HE IS ALRIGHT AND JUST NEEDS A COUPLE OF DAYS LIKE THE ALL STAR WEEKEND TO RELAX AND IIT WILL BE FINE, HE SAID “IT IS NOT SERIOUS” IT WON’T AFFECT HIM IN THE LONG RUN.

  • http://TheLakersNation Marwan..

    Seriously, where are those Lamar haters now? After having inconsistent performances, you were all over him but now after grabbing 22 boards you act like nothing happened. It is a sad sight. I loved Lamar as a player, consistent or not, he is one of my faves and he is a very humble player too, show some respect and decency.

    • drive-for-16th

      he plays better when he starts, off the bench he is very inconsistant, lets not get too high on his performance now, it was a team effort, and if kobe sits out a lot of games then he will start again and should keep this energy up.

    • daboss1848

      some are in hiding, others changing their SNs . . . you have to wait for LOs next bad game, theyll be back.

      • trade lamar

        i’m just here marwan ya i’m happy for the win. he just have 10 point and all he can do is rebound but thats a good help…but imagine roy did not play that is why were not screwed by their guards. let see what he can do agains big team like spurs on monday….but honestly I hope he will continue his doings!

      • LakersMike31

        Unfortunately, LO’s next bad game is usually right around the corner…

    • Luke makes me Puke

      If only Lamar would eliminate the DUMB plays from his game.

  • drive-for-16th

    Kobe needs to sit and rest till our first game back from the all star break on the 16th, he’ll have 10 days of rest. i say he should do it. And maybe think about sitting out for the all star game too. Cause the team matters more than the all star game.

  • gugy

    Great game, great win, all without Kobe. He must be smiling tonight.
    Props to Artest, Farmar, Fish, Odom and Brown. Even Sasha finally was not so bad.
    Who knows, maybe Kobe should sit against the Spurs.
    Let’s roll and hopefully after the All Star, Kobe will come back to the old self.

  • http://thelakersnation.com/blog/category/original-articles/benchmob-beat/ Anna Gonda

    I don’t think Kobe would sit out the All-Star game. He doesn’t like to disappoint fans unless he absolutely has to. He’ll probably play just a few minutes. This is a good time for him to rest though. And, maybe it’s a good time for the guys to be reminded that there’s more to this team than Kobe.

  • Chillax

    You guys remember how Artest led Rockets and Kings when he was with them? Artest has that capability here in LA when Kobe is injured or having a off night. I say run the offense through Artest more and give him some more touches, show the opposition that Artest can still lead a team, get the pressure off Kobe with his fractured finger and all. Don’t get me wrong, Kobe is still the leader, the black mamba, but Artest could use more touches.

    • Chillax

      This game was a perfect example. Ron did great, leading the team in scoring. The Lakers are one of the elite teams even without Kobe. This game amazed me. Imagine how much better they would be if tonight’s teamwork and efficiency was shown WITH Kobe in the lineup. The Lakers would be winning almost every game by double digits.

      • http://thelakersnation.com/blog/category/original-articles/benchmob-beat/ Anna Gonda

        Ditto! Ron’s great at distributing the ball. On a night with no Kobe, no Andrew, and barely any Pau, the New Yorkers sure led the way. If only the effort and gusto were there all the time.

      • http://TheLakersNation Marwan..

        Yeah Ron did great and I really love his game. His great offensively and defensively. He can create his own shots like he showed today where as Ariza relied on open looks and on a night like this, Ariza would be so sh- cause Pau was lost in the game and he was rarely doubled and no Kobe means no double which would mean Ariza wouldnt have open looks to get shots off. Artest is truely > Ariza
        I guess people didnt see that earlier this season cause of the Plantar Fasciitis Ron was battling but that seems to be subsiding.

  • Nabaniel

    Sucks I had to miss the game but I’m glad to hear Lamar stepped up big and Artest had a great game. I’ve always thought he could be a force to be reckoned with on this team and from what I hear he really brought it tonight. I ESPECIALLY love that we FINALLY got a W in Portland…

  • ruxpin810

    this game was all about defense, rebounds and hustle. if the lakers can hold the team to under 90 pts, i like our chances no matter who is playing because we have enough talented players to score more than 90 pts a game. if we can play with this type of effort on defense, rebounding and hustling, no one can beat us. hope they keep this up the rest of the season.

  • thanhttrinh

    The only way that Lakers can keep this going is let Kobe sit on the bench for 3-4 games, other guys will know how to fill in his absence !

  • comeflywithme

    Lakers win, nice gift to Kobe , Phil and Tex! plus the staffs!

    C’mon now lets keep this up!!

  • http://thebasketballoracle.com Joey

    The Lakers are the only team whose 4th and 5th options can lead the team to a win in a very difficult game. I would’ve rather it had been Gasol that went down and not Bynum. Gasol is less injury-prone so there would be less to worry about, and the Lakers are better with Bynum + Odom starting than any other PF/C combination I think (Other than Bynum + Gasol, which would mean there are no injuries).

  • http://lil_jay78.blogspot.com/ lil j

    I agree w/ Rux…totally about defense. They held them to under 90, which was a testament to their focus on defense. I’ve never really worried about the offense.

  • vlade4kobe8

    Kobe should sit out this week and the and next week and then the team will finally play the way they should and not rely on Kobe to bail them out all the time great win, can you imagine if Ron played like this and Lamar with Kobe in the Lineup and Brown scoring at will off the bench, scary I think thats what we all hoped for coming into this season maybe they will alll get it and I agree with Bynum coming off the bench more fire power

    • nope

      We did not pay Bynum all that money to come off the bench.

      At this point, he’s better off as trade bait. Such a disappointment.

  • B Holland

    Lakers played great team ball. Now can we get Kobe to do likewise?

    • ruxpin810

      the guy leads the team in assists, don’t know what else u want from the guy. the lakers won this game w/o Kobe because they played good D, outrebounded the blazers and hustled. the lakers would win every game if they gave the same effort every nite.

  • berkyberks

    hang on guys we just win to a team without their 2 legit center (oden and pryzbilla and an all star roy..that is why lamar step-up and pau still ticking on his ugly hook. 13 points vs undersized team and just 2 ft attemp?.Our bigs no longer eficient and consistent. But a W is W. next at home will be pau’s statement game vs duncan without kobe n bynum! he needs more touches n misses on his lefty ugly hook.

  • person man

    I just saw Andrew Bynum at P.F. Chang’s woot woot!

    • Andrew Bynum

      Cuz I’m a fatty!!!!

  • lakerfan90

    please guys. We played a portland team WITHOUT their best player as well and with no bigs minus other guys out. Nice win but i wont be satisfied unless this effort can b duplicated against timmy and the spurs on mon. Remember their big killed us last time. Lamar is so good when he gets time, much better than bynum…