Dwight Howard is fouled as he goes up for a dunk.
The Lakers got huge games from both Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant, but turnovers and bad defense did them in again, as they dropped to 0-2 on the young season, with a 116-106 loss in Portland.
For the second straight night, the Lakers floundered and flailed, and were again unable to mount any real consistent play in dropping yet another game in Portland. In actuality, the Lakers have lost 12 straight games if you go back to last season, and count the preseason contests. To add insult to injury, Steve Nash bumped knees with Blazer rookie Damian Lillard in the first half, and was unable to play more than 1:16 of the second half.
Dwight Howard, however, did bounce back from a very tough first game to score a game-high 33 points, to go along with 14 rebounds, and five assists. He also hit 15-19 from the foul line, a day after shooting just 3-14 against Dallas. Kobe Bryant had 30 points on 10-20 from the field, and Pau Gasol added 16 points and nine rebounds.
Beyond those three though, the Lakers got just 27 points from the rest of the team, with the bench struggling again, scoring just 15 points. Ironically, they actually outscored the Trail Blazer bench 15-13. But the bench play is clearly an issue early on as no player had more than seven points, and forced Mike Brown into playing his starters big minutes again.
The feisty Blazers played very well, led by Nicolas Batum’s 26 points and six rebounds. Rookie Damian Lillard dazzled 23 points and 11 assists, and Wesley Matthews dropped in 22 including 4-6 from the three-point line.
Portland turned a close 62-57 halftime lead into a rout late in the third quarter. After the Lakers had cut the game to 79-76 on a layup by Howard, the Blazers closed the quarter on 13-0 run to blow it wide open. The Lakers were never able to get closer than eight the rest of the way, as they continue to turn the ball over at an alarming rate.
The Lakers did shoot well for the second straight night, hitting 36-72 (50.0%) from the floor, and 26-32 (81.3%) from the foul line, a day after hitting a miserable 12-31. However, Portland shot even better at 42-83 (50.6%) from the field, including 9-20 (45.0%) from beyond the arc. The Lakers won the rebound battle, not surprisingly, 45-30, but did give up way too many second chance points. J.J. Hickson and Batum combined for nine offensive rebounds.
So Friday, the Lakers will try to notch their first win since May, when they take on the Clippers at Staples Center, as the home team. They also may have to do it without Steve Nash, whose status for Friday night’s game is unclear.
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