The Los Angeles Lakers hosted the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center Friday, and they were looking for revenge against the team that beat them by double digits on Halloween night. Entering the contest, both teams were playing their best basketball of the season, and it was L.A. that stole the show with a 104-87 victory.
The early part of this game belonged to the Lakers, as they outscored Portland, 34-25, in the first period. The big difference was points in the paint, and with L.A. recognizing it had the advantage down low, Dwight Howard’s teammates looked his way from the opening possession.
The second quarter began with Portland’s bench outplaying the Lakers’ second unit, and the Blazers narrowed the gap in what appeared to be a closely fought contest. But by the time the starters returned, momentum shifted back in L.A.’s direction.
The second half proved to be much of the same for both squads. The only thing going for Portland in this one was the play of LaMarcus Aldridge, but while the Lakers had no answer for his jump shot, they exploited his inability to thrive on defense. L.A. scored on the low block seemingly anytime it wanted, as Portland’s frontcourt couldn’t contain the prowess of the Lakers’ post players.
Los Angeles played with great balance between its two superstars. Howard and Kobe Bryant each scored against an unorganized defense, finishing with 21 and 27 points, respectively, on extremely efficient shooting.
After a miserable start to the year, the Lakers are playing well at this juncture, and had it not been for a loss against the Denver Nuggets, they would be taking a seven-game winning streak into their matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers on Jan. 1.