The Los Angeles Lakers put up a valiant effort without Kobe Bryant at the helm, but ultimately could not overcome Damian Lillard's 16 points in the final quarter as the Portland Trail Blazers pulled through with the 98-94 victory at home.
On the night, Lillard finished with 39 points on 12-of-21 shooting. He added five assists and six boards in one of his best contests of the season. LaMarcus Aldridge pitched in 21 points and eight rebounds and served as Lillard's sidekick in the closing minutes as the Blazers overcame a fourth-quarter deficit to secure the victory.
Portland entered the contest with limited depth at the center position due to Robin Lopez and Joel Freeland's injuries, but Chris Kaman and Meyers Leonard each stepped up to fill the void in the middle, with Kaman contributing eight points and 11 rebounds while Leonard enjoyed his best contest of the season, finishing with 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting (3-of-4 from deep). He also pulled down 12 rebounds in his 18 minutes of action.
For the Lakers, it was Jordan Hill who led the way. The big man scored 23 points on 15 shots—10 of which he made—and pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds. Jeremy Lin was the next highest scorer with 14 while three other Lakers finished with double digit scoring.
Even with production off the bench and a stellar defensive effort in the third quarter, Lillard was simply too much to handle, using his starpower to ignite Portland down the stretch. Without Kobe, the Lakers ultimately had no answer.