Trail Blazers 114, Lakers 108

Forrest Lee, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- Power forward LaMarcus Aldridge scored 27 points and point guard Damian Lillard added 26 and nine assists as the Portland Trail Blazers held off the Los Angeles Lakers for a 114-108 victory Sunday night at Staples Center.
Guard Wes Matthews finished with 17 points, while center Robin Lopez had 12 points and 12 rebounds as Portland (14-3) bounced back from having its 11-game winning streak ended in Phoenix on Wednesday night.
Forward Xavier Henry led the Lakers with 27 points. Forward Nick Young delivered 17 points off the bench. Point guard Steve Blake had 13 points and nine assists.
The Blazers seemed to benefit from their time off as they beat the Lakers (9-9) to the punch early on.
Portland's fast start produced a 19-2 lead after a jumper by Aldridge less than six minutes into the opening quarter. But the Lakers outscored the Blazers 22-13 for the rest of the first, cutting the margin to 32-24 heading into the second.
A 3-pointer by guard Jodie Meeks allowed Los Angeles to briefly take a 43-42 lead with 5:22 remaining in the second quarter before the two teams exchanged baskets for the rest of the half. Portland held a 53-50 lead at intermission.
In the third, the Blazers took command again as Lillard scored 11 of his points and guard Wes Matthews added nine more. After a layup by Meeks pulled the Lakers to within 57-56 with 10 minutes remaining, Portland went on an 18-6 surge for a 75-62 advantage after a layup by Lillard with 5:46 left in the quarter. The Blazers increased the margin to 94-74 heading into the fourth as they outscored the Lakers 41-24 in the third.
But Los Angeles rallied in the fourth. The Lakers went on a 21-3 run to close the gap to 97-95 on a layup by Meeks with 4:20 left in the game. Forward Shawne Williams tipped in a missed free throw by Henry to pull the Lakers to within one (99-98) with 3:40 remaining, but the Blazers hit some key buckets down the stretch to prevail.
Lakers forward Pau Gasol missed 12 of his 15 shots and managed just six points in almost 25 minutes. Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni left Gasol on the bench in the fourth quarter.
NOTES: Whether SG Kobe Bryant returns Friday against the Sacramento Kings will depend on how his body responds to practice this week, Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said Sunday. "We'll see
Tuesday and go from there," D'Antoni said. "Three days of practice, then we'll evaluate him. It
might happen; it might not. The only way we will be able to evaluate is to let these three days go
by and check him out. I have no idea how he will respond to practice or if he has to back off or
if he can turn it up or he's ready. After those three days, we'll decide." ... Lakers PG Steve Nash will return to practice Tuesday after being sidelined the past 10 games with nerve root irritation in his back. ... Los Angeles reserve PG Jordan Farmar left Sunday's game late in the first quarter with a moderate left hamstring strain and did not return. ... Portland went 13-2 in November, tying a franchise record for most wins in that month. The Blazers compiled a 13-3 mark in November during the 1999-2000 season.

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