Portland Trail Blazers

Portland Trail Blazers vs. LA Lakers: Twitter Reaction, Grades and Recap

December 1, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard (0) goes in for a basket against the defense of Los Angeles Lakers center Robert Sacre (50) during the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Alex TamCorrespondent IIIDecember 2, 2013

The Portland Trail Blazers blew two big leads before holding off the pesky Los Angeles Lakers with a 114-108 victory Sunday night at Staples Center.

The Blazers improved to 14-3 overall, moving into first place in the Western Conference by virtue of winning a head-to-head matchup against the San Antonio Spurs (14-3). Portland sits two games behind the Indiana Pacers (16-1) for the best record in the NBA.

Surprising? Most definitely. Portland improved to 8-2 away from the Moda Center, becoming the first team in the NBA to win eight games on the road, and doing so with a balanced offensive attack and continuing to see clutch shots fall at the right time.


December 1, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Portland Trail Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) controls the ball against the Los Angeles Lakers during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Player of the Game

LaMarcus Aldridge: 27 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 11-19 FGs

Aldridge just missed his fifth 20-plus point, 10-plus rebound game of the season but continues to play at an All-Star level.

With the Lakers threatening to take the lead, Aldridge nailed his patented fadeaway jumper and added two key free throws late to help hold off LA's late rally attempt.

His averages of 22.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game are on pace for career-highs as he continues to make a case as the top power forward in the league tdoay.


Key Moment of the Game

The Lakers closed to within 101-100 with 3:14 left after backup center Robert Sacre hit a short jumper. The Blazers answered immediately when Damian Lillard swished a cold-blooded three-pointer.

More than a minute later, Wesley Matthews nailed a three-pointer of his own with 1:20 left for a 109-102 lead and the Lakers didn't have enough to complete their comeback.



Lillard (A): Not an entirely efficient night offensively as the second-year guard scored 26 points on 19 shots. But Lillard added five rebounds, nine assists and had a huge three-pointer late in the fourth. The Lakers challenged Lillard's defense in the second half, but the Blazers' star guard sealed the victory with a block on Jodie Meeks' three-point attempt with 14.9 seconds left.

Matthews (B): Matthews battled through a hip injury and still came through with 17 points, including 14 in the second half.

December 1, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Portland Trail Blazers small forward Nicolas Batum (88) moves the ball against the defense of Los Angeles Lakers small forward Xavier Henry (7) during the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasq
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Nicolas Batum (B+): Batum fell one point, one rebound and one assist shy of his second triple-double of the season. It was a typical do-everything night for Batum, who's fit right in with his role as a stat-sheet filler wherever Portland needs.

Aldridge (A): The two-time All-Star was sensational at helping build the Blazers' leads in the first and third quarters.

Robin Lopez (B+): Lopez has quietly had a great first season in Portland, on pace to average a career-high 8.1 rebounds per game—exactly what the Blazers needed when they acquired him. He recorded his sixth double-double this season with 12 points and 12 rebounds.

Bench (C+): Joel Freeland provided solid minutes, but Mo Williams, Dorell Wright and Thomas Robinson struggled with their shot as they combined to go 5-of-17 from the field. The Blazers' bench was outscored by the Lakers' reserves 60-23 and struggled to keep up.


Twitter Reaction



The one concern so far is the Blazers' inability to hold onto big leads. Portland led 19-2 midway through the first quarter and 94-74 to end the third.

The Blazers have luckily not been burned yet by allowing teams to hang around.

But Portland is playing with a swagger and confidence that it expects to win every time out. The Blazers have eight road victories already in the first month after going an ugly 11-30 away from home last season.

They're finding different ways to win, which is the most encouraging. No bigger tests await the Blazers with the league-leading Pacers on Monday and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday.

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