LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Dwight Howard had 21 points and 14 rebounds, Kobe Bryant scored 27 points and the Los Angeles Lakers never trailed in their sixth win in seven games, 104-87 over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night.
Pau Gasol had 15 points and nine rebounds as the Lakers closed out their 2012 schedule by climbing back to .500 (15-15) in their rocky season. Los Angeles had little trouble rolling past the Blazers, taking a 20-point lead in the first half and holding star rookie Damian Lillard to 11 points on 4-for-17 shooting.
LaMarcus Aldridge scored 26 points before sitting out the final minutes with a bruised chest for cold-shooting Portland, which lost for just the second time in eight games.
Steve Nash had 10 assists and six points while playing just 27 minutes in his fourth game back from a seven-week absence with a small fracture in his leg, the result of a collision with Lillard on Oct. 31 in Nash's second game with the Lakers.
Nash's playmaking again set...