Thursday, February 24, 2005

Lakers 86, Trail Blazers 83

Anne M. Peterson / Associated Press
A modest three-game winning streak as the season edges closer to the playoffs isn't enough to excite the Los Angeles Lakers, and certainly not Kobe Bryant.

The Lakers put together three wins for the first time this season with an 86-83 victory over the struggling Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night.

"Even though we won, we still feel like we can play much better," said Bryant, who had 31 points. "I don't think anybody's going to be jumping for joy."

Teammate Lamar Odom also suggested more is needed to be accomplished before any congratulations were passed around.

"Hopefully, we can get four or five straight," he said.

Portland made it close. Shareef Abdur-Rahim's game-tying 3-point attempt bounced off the rim at the final buzzer.

Damon Stoudamire scored 21 of his 25 points in a second half rally for the Blazers, who have won just one of their last six games.

"Close games like that always disappoint me. In this situation you can't even feel good about the fight, because we're so desperate for wins," Abdur-Rahim said.

Portland coach Maurice Cheeks was much more dire.

"It is a dagger," Cheeks said. "It is not the end, but it is a dagger."

After trailing by as many as 13 points, the Blazers briefly took a seven-point lead in the third quarter. The rival Lakers quickly regained control, and the Blazers grew clearly frustrated when they fell behind 76-69 in the fourth. Stoudamire kicked the scorer's table when Portland called timeout.

Then Stoudamire singlehandedly took over, scoring the next eight points to narrow the gap to 78-76. But Portland wouldn't get that close again until Stoudamire made a 3-pointer with 21.1 seconds left in the game, closing it to 84-83.

Bryant hit a pair of free throws before Abdur-Rahim's unsuccessful attempt to tie it as time ran out.

"It's a significant win for us, period," Lakers coach Frank Hamblen said. "We're in a race for a playoff spot."

The Lakers, in eighth place in the Western Conference, were coming off a 104-95 victory over Boston the night before. Bryant and Odom each scored 21 points.

Forward Zach Randolph, who missed Portland's last two games before the break with lingering soreness in his right knee, started for the first time since mid-January when he first had trouble.

Randolph, the league's Most Improved Player last season who seemed frustrated at times with his reserve role, had 12 points and nine rebounds.

The Lakers went on a 15-2 run to take a 29-18 lead early in the second quarter and led by as many as 13 points in the first half. But the Blazers closed to 43-39 at the break with an 11-2 rally.

Nick Van Exel's 20-foot jumper tied it at 45, and the Blazers went on to take a 58-51 lead on Stoudamire's 3-pointer. It was short-lived, however, and the Lakers scored eight unanswered points to go up 59-58.

Los Angeles extended the lead to 68-61, capped by Tierre Brown's 3-pointer and layup.

The Blazers activated Abdur-Rahim from the injured list before the game. He missed 22 games with an injured right elbow that required surgery Jan. 12.

The move comes amid trade speculation involving Abdur-Rahim. He had 16 points against the Lakers. his second career start in his place. ... Portland center Theo Ratliff dressed but pulled himself out of the starting lineup because of shoulder pain. ... The Blazers cleared the way for Abdur-Rahim's return by placing guard Derek Anderson on the injured list with back spasms. ... Portland rookie Sebastian Telfair limped off the court midway through the second quarter with a mild left ankle sprain, according to the team.

Thursday, February 10, 2005


The Trail Blazer just seem to keep and to my surprise, but not the why that I want them too. It hurts to see a team contribute to another teams’ 9th win of the season, especially when that other team is the Hornets.

The Blazer dropped last night contest 80-91 to the New Orleans Hornets. The icing on the cake, or to rub the salt on an open wound, either is a way to look at it; but the Blazers where kind enough to give the Hornets a previous win on December 27 losing that contest 106-112.

That means two out of the nine wins that the Hornets have are from our Blazers. I don’t know what else to say.... ugh!