After defeating the Phoenix Suns handily on Sunday, and having previously beaten the Trailblazers up in Portland a few weeks ago, the Lakers were in for a good fight tonight to say the least. Portland had won three in a row coming into today’s game and are trying to get into good position for the post-season. They would not be overlooking the Lakers this time like they did last month.
Pau Gasol, Steve Nash and Xavier Henry were all back on the active roster and starting line-up number 33 was scheduled for this game number 76. The Lakers started the game well, shooting at a good percentage in the first half, but the last two quarters were not as agreeable.
Despite the return of on-again, off-again teammates, the Lakers still couldn’t pull out a win and lost, 124-112.
Nick Young – Near perfect – that’s what Young was in the first half. Before the break he already racked up 21 points on an uber efficient 8-9 from the field and 3-4 from downtown. He finished the evening with a whopping 40 points to lead the game, on 15-26 from the field. That’s just three points shy of his career high, 43 points. He did all that in 32 minutes of playing time. He probably could’ve played a lot more, especially in the third quarter when the Trailblazers started pulling away.
Kent Bazemore – Continuing his consistent play, the young former Warrior chipped in 17 points on 6-10 from the field.
Steve Nash – He played just under 22 minutes, but in the process earned himself a double-double with his 10 points and 10 assists. Unfortunately, he didn’t last too long in the first half, having to go to the locker room even before halftime after he turned his ankle. He played another 11 minutes in the second half, but was reported to be in some pain after the game. It’s unfortunate, a player of Nash’s caliber, injured for the last two seasons.
First Half – Most of the good things that happened to the Lakers in tonight’s game happened in the first and second quarters. They shot 52% and kept the Blazers under 40% shooting. They shot 7-13 from three to Portland’s 5-12. They had 19 assists on 24 made field goals, five more dimes than the Blazers. They also had seven blocks. The most glaring black mark in the first half was the free throw disparity – 17 attempts for the Blazers and only eight for the Lakers.
Gasol-Kaman Experiment – I know Mike D’Antoni wants to say it. I told you so. Not since the beginning of the season in November have we seen Pau Gasol and Chris Kaman together on the floor, especially as starters. A tandem big men, worked for us before right? Well, today, not so much. The two played about 30 minutes each, and in that time scored just 21 points on 10-25 from the field, 10 rebounds and five blocks. Maybe they’re just rusty since they haven’t played together in so long. Gasol was a -18 and Kaman a -19 for the night.
Second Half – Compared to their first two quarters, the second half was a lost one. The Lakers shot just 37% from the field, and allowed the Trailblazers to shoot 54%. They also hit four more three pointers and led by as much as 23 points. They outscored the Lakers 20-10 in second chance points and 44-34 in points in the paint. Portland let the Lakers have it, led by Damien Lillard’s 34 points and eight assists, not to mention Lamarcus Aldridge’s 31 points and 15 rebounds.
Where’s Hill?! – After huge games last week against the New York Knicks and Orlando Magic, Hill should be on the floor for a good part of the game. Yes, the Lakers had minutes to spread for Kaman and Gasol, but Robert Sacre is no Jordan Hill, especially of late.
Meeks and Marshall – When Jodie Meeks is hot, he’s hot! When he’s not, he’s 2-7 from the field with four points. And Kendall Marshall, still as streaky as ever the last couple of months, hasn’t learned to play with another point in the wings.
So much for player hatin’. Next up, the Lakers travel to Sacramento to play the Kings, who they defeated back in February.