Aldridge, Wallace lead Blazers over Lakers 93-86By ANNE M. PETERSON, AP Sports Writer Saturday, Apr 9, 2011
“They chanted your name so loud, I started chanting with them,” Aldridge said. “Ger-ald Wall-ace.”
Aldridge had 24 points and 11 rebounds, but Wallace—with his physical play and his refusal to get rattled even when pestered by Ron Artest(notes)—got the Rose Garden cheers in the Trail Blazers’ 93-86 victory over the Lakers on Friday night.
Wallace finished with 19 points and 13 rebounds for the Blazers, who helped prevent the two-time defending NBA champion Lakers from locking up the second seed in the Western Conference.
“These guys just don’t want to play hard right now,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson lamented. “I hate to have this setup going into the playoffs when we’re just not playing hard.”
Artest hit a pair of 3-pointers that pulled the Lakers to 82-73 late. Aldridge made a jumper but Bryant had a pair of layups that narrowed it to 84-77.
“You can’t put too much on one game,” Aldridge said. “But whenever you can beat the Lakers, the defending champs, it’s always a good game.”
A victory by the Lakers combined with a loss by the Mavericks on Friday would have secured Los Angeles the West’s No. 2 seed.
Bryant said the Lakers would “have a talk.”
“Our guys look a little tired, a little sluggish, he said. “Hopefully we can turn it around.”
The Blazers were in a tangle with Memphis and New Orleans for seeding at the bottom of the conference. The team that finishes eighth will face San Antonio in the opening round.
Both the Hornets and Grizzlies won on Friday night, but Portland’s victory kept the Blazers in the sixth spot with two games left. The Blazers were coming off a 98-87 victory at Utah the night before.
Portland was without center Marcus Camby(notes), who banged his head on the floor in a collision with David Lee(notes) in a loss to the Warriors on Tuesday night. Camby, who strained his neck, has missed two games.
Portland would respond with a 19-2 run that gave the Blazers a 45-33 lead with 3:19 to go before the break.
Bryant almost single-handedly kept the Lakers in it, scoring 18 first-half points, including a 3-pointer that closed the gap to 53-47 at the half.
The Lakers closed the third quarter on a 12-0 run to narrow it to 74-62 on Brown’s layup.
There were some tense moments in the final quarter when words were exchanged between Artest and Wallace. The fans at the Rose Garden cheered Wallace, who came to the Blazers in a trade at the deadline with the Charlotte Bobcats.
“It was a physical ball game,” said Wallace, who is known by the nickname Crash. “I wasn’t going to back down on him.”
Artest responded by hitting his back-to-back 3-pointers.
“It’s always a surprise to get beat like that,” Bryant said. “They took advantage of us.”
Notes: Bryant had four 3-pointers in the first half. But he finished 10-of-25 from the floor. … Trail Blazers great Terry Porter, now a part of the franchise’s broadcast team, celebrated his 48th birthday on Friday. … The Lakers lost four straight earlier this season from Nov. 28 to Dec. 1. … Bynum fouled out with 2:46 left. … The Lakers had 17 turnovers to Portland’s nine.