LOS ANGELES Following a lackluster loss in Denver on Wednesday night, the Lakers showed that when properly motivated by embarrassment this time they can play defense. And play it well.
Los Angeles grabbed 52 rebounds and scored 23 fast-break points to beat Portland 104-87 at Staples Center on Friday night. Dwight Howard bounced back from his flagrant 2 ejection and 35,000 fine, scoring 21 points and grabbing 14 rebounds, while Kobe Bryant scored 27 to lead the Lakers to their sixth win in seven games. Bryant saw his streak of 10 straight games with 30 or more points come to an end, but he and each of the starters got some rest, no one playing more than Kobes 31 minutes.
The Lakers were excellent defensively, allowing 39 fewer points than they did in the 126-112 loss to the Nuggets.
This is great, Howard said, but we just have to go out there, keep working hard on defense and do it consistently. Its like Ive said before, we cant just be satisfied playing hard one or two games. ...