The biggest threat to the Los Angeles Lakers’ 10-game winning streak is the building where they’ll next play.
While trying to extend their run, the Lakers also look to snap a four-game skid at the Rose Garden when they meet the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night.
Los Angeles (41-17) hasn’t had an 11-game streak since March 13-April 2, 2004, but it also hasn’t beaten the Blazers on the road since Feb. 23, 2005. In fact, the Lakers have usually struggled in Portland, losing 25 of 33 there since January 1992.
Kobe Bryant is averaging 28.2 points per game over Los Angeles’ last 10 games, less than one point above his season average. Despite the Lakers’ struggles in Portland, he’s thrived there, averaging 35.5 points in his last eight visits.
On Thursday, Bryant had 21 points and eight assists, but Jordan Farmar led Los Angeles with a career-high 24 points in a 106-88 win over woeful Miami. The Lakers are 13-1 this month, and that’s allowed them to open up a one-game lead in the Western Conference over San Antonio and two games in front of Phoenix in the Pacific Division.
“We’re really having a good time playing with one another. It makes the season that much more enjoyable,” Bryant said.
The Lakers already beat Portland (30-28) once during their streak, erasing an early 15-point deficit in a 96-83 win on Tuesday behind 30 points from Bryant and 21 from Farmar.
A Los Angeles native who starred at UCLA, Farmar is averaging 9.7 points this season, but 17.8 in his last four games.
With its next win, Los Angeles will match its total from last season when it lost to the Suns in West quarterfinals for the second straight year.
Portland bounced back from its loss to the Lakers with an 82-80 win over the Clippers on Wednesday, its first in four games.
Jarrett Jack matched a season high with 21 points - 13 coming in the fourth quarter - and Martell Webster added 15. Portland led by 13 at the end of the first half, but squandered a double-digit lead for the third straight game before hanging on.
“We were fortunate tonight,” Portland coach Nate McMillan said. “We will take it, but we’ve just got to grow up and learn how to finish off games, play a full 48 minutes and keep the game simple. The ball just bounced our way down the stretch, but we’re not going to give this win back.”
The Blazers are 10th in the West, five games behind Golden State for the final playoff spot. Portland is 21-8 at home this season, but will play six of its next seven on the road after this contest.
Brandon Roy, who leads the Blazers in scoring with 19.3 points, has missed the last two games with a sprained ankle. The reigning rookie of the year is day-to-day.
With Roy possibly out again, McMillan may lean on LaMarcus Aldridge. He shot 10-of-19 from the field and finished with a game-high 24 points in the loss to the Lakers this week, but followed with only nine points on 3-of-9 shooting versus the Clippers.
Portland hasn’t won back-to-back games since a four-game streak from Jan. 2-9.