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Kobe’s 47 points lead Lakers to road win over shorthanded Blazers

Apr 11, 2013, 4:15 AM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers Bryant shoots against the Portland Trail Blazers during first quarter of their NBA basketball game in Portland,

The criticism for this Lakers team, which has struggled mightily in consecutive nights against teams that have long since been out of the playoff picture, is both real and well-justified.

But regardless of the poor starts, even worse team defense, and a propensity to play down to their level of competition, the reality is that L.A. is being dragged to victory by one of the league’s best players, and that’s been pretty exciting to watch.

Kobe Bryant followed up his 23 point fourth quarter on Tuesday with a 47 point effort in Portland, which was enough to lead his team to a 113-106 victory that pushed the Lakers a full game ahead of the Utah Jazz for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference standings.

Portland has historically been a tough place for the Lakers to play, as evidenced by L.A.’s 4-17 record there since 2002 heading into this one. But with the Blazers starting four rookies alongside LaMarcus Aldridge, and with the Lakers desperately needing this game to stay in the hunt to make the postseason, the Lakers appeared to have the advantage.

It didn’t start out that way. Whether due to playing on the second night of a back-to-back or simply due to the energy brought by Portland’s young starters, the Blazers jumped on the Lakers early, and put up 41 points in the first quarter led by 17 in the period from Damian Lillard, who finished with 38 points and nine assists.

Thanks to Bryant matching Lillard’s 17 in that first frame, the Lakers trailed by just eight despite the home team’s offensive explosion. L.A. played Portland even in the second behind another 11 from Bryant, before the Lakers clamped down defensively a bit in the second half.

The Blazers shot just 28.6 percent from the field over the game’s final two periods, while the Lakers knocked down 61.3 percent of their looks over that span. Bryant was an efficient 5-10 from the field in the second half for 19 points, and Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol combined to shoot 10-13 from the field during that stretch, with the Lakers getting the ball to Gasol down the stretch for 11 fourth quarter points.

The struggles from the Lakers on consecutive nights to put away lottery teams when every win for them is so crucial doesn’t bode well for the team’s chances, should it eventually sneak into the postseason. But while it hasn’t been pretty, the wins have come nonetheless, and have come thanks to staggering performances from Bryant when his team has needed him most.

L.A.controls its own destiny in terms of making the playoffs now, with just three games remaining in the regular season. All three are at home, but they’re all against playoff teams — Golden State, San Antonio, and Houston round out the Lakers’ schedule.

The Lakers will worry about facing San Antonio or Oklahoma City in a seven game series if and when the time comes. Until then, they’ll take these wins any way they come, even if it’s required ridiculous efforts from Bryant on consecutive nights against sub-par opponents to make them happen.

It seems as though Bryant simply won’t let the Lakers miss the playoffs, regardless of what the ultimate outcome might be once his team actually gets there.

  1. money2long - Apr 11, 2013 at 5:01 AM

    kobe won’t be denied

    • slowclyde86 - Apr 11, 2013 at 5:59 AM

      That’s what she said.

    • hannsta - Apr 11, 2013 at 12:47 PM

      I think the picture sums this game up best. 4 rookies start, Luke Babbit gets 22 min, Laker fans are proud of “hard earned win”.

  2. mungman69 - Apr 11, 2013 at 6:48 AM

    When will Kobe run out of gas.

  3. bucrightoff - Apr 11, 2013 at 6:57 AM

    While it’s admirable that Kobe is doing everything he can to get them in, consider that he needs to go off for crazy performances to squeek by two teams that are a combined 37 games under .500. The Lakers can definitely win a game or two against OKC or SA, but Kobe is literally going to need to average 60 a game if they’re going to win a series, let alone 4 against teams that have owned them this year.

    • money2long - Apr 11, 2013 at 8:52 AM

      kobe sees what you wrote, and calmly says, ‘where’s the ball’ ?
      for a mere mortal that looks like quite the task. for kobe, it’s another day in the office. crazy performance is his middle name.

      • spthegr8 - Apr 11, 2013 at 9:44 AM

        @money
        I agree homie. Last night the mamba was @ his best. I think somebody needs too tell him he is 34 and in his 17th season. Cuz this looks like the Kobe from the early 2000’s!!! All that being said, I’m still VERY CONCERNED about our D. We gave up 41 in the qtr and we put too much pressure on D Howard too bail everybody out!! Until we fix that, we are gna be fools gold. Either way, GREAT WIN LAST NIGHT LAKESHOW!!!!

  4. patfic15 - Apr 11, 2013 at 8:03 AM

    Such a race to get swept in the first round. Carry on!

  5. themagicfanguy - Apr 11, 2013 at 8:12 AM

    18 free throws for Kobe, but when Lilliard gets hacked by Howard all game long no fouls get called. Can’t the refs find a way to make it less obvious? It’s comical how the bad the officiating is in key games for the Heat, Lakers, and Thunder. The fact that LA has done so bad this year even with the horrible calls really speaks for how sorry they are.

    • spthegr8 - Apr 11, 2013 at 9:18 AM

      @magicfatguy
      Don’t you have a draft lottery party your supposed too be plannin??????! Feel free too post again when your team is relevant, so in that case……… We wont see or hear from you for a LONG,LONG,LONG,LONG,LONG, LONG,LONG,LONG, LONG, LONG,LONG,LONG TIME!!!! GO AWAY HATER!!! Pls pls GO AWAY!!

      • spthegr8 - Apr 11, 2013 at 9:20 AM

        For some of you guys that don’t have a dog in the fight. You SURE do post a lot about the Lakers!! I’m Just Saying!!!

    • thesecondlakerzealot - Apr 11, 2013 at 9:58 AM

      Yawn. Really dude? You honestly think the League is “rigging” games for the LAKERS to get in. If that were so, they would not be in a dog fight with the Jazz. Its time for you to get over the fact Dwight got traded.

    • asimonetti88 - Apr 11, 2013 at 10:43 AM

      *Hates Lakers*

      *Watches every Lakers game*

      Just a suggestion dude, but if you hate the Lakers so much, maybe you shouldn’t watch all their games. Your blood pressure will thank you later.

      By the way, I agree. The league helped the Lakers win. David Stern, Adam Silver and Stu Jackson’s defensive presence and rotations were the key to the Blazers shooting 28% in the second half.

  6. lakerluver - Apr 11, 2013 at 8:14 AM

    No other player has been this spectacular in his 17th NBA. If MJ is number 1 all time, Kobe Bean Bryant is 1A.

    • bougin89 - Apr 11, 2013 at 9:48 AM

      Kobe is playing incredible and you may be right about the regular season. MJ at age 34 absolutely dominated in the playoffs and the last shot he took was a game winner in the finals against the Utah Jazz when they were the real deal. Kobe has really been great but has a long way to go to match MJ’s season at age 34.

      • Mr. Wright 212 - Apr 11, 2013 at 1:04 PM

        Jordan hadn’t played 17 years at age 34.

      • bougin89 - Apr 11, 2013 at 1:17 PM

        Mr. Wright. Jordan went to college for a few years and took just under 2 seasons offer to play minor league baseball.

        I was comparing their age 34 seasons. Kobe is 34 now, MJ was 34 his last year with the Bulls. I think everything that is quite obvious has been said now.

      • eventhorizon04 - Apr 11, 2013 at 4:26 PM

        “Mr. Wright. Jordan went to college for a few years and took just under 2 seasons offer to play minor league baseball. ”

        Also, Kobe wasn’t a heavy-minutes player early in his career. Averaged 15 minutes per game as a rookie and 26 minutes per game as a sophomore.

        And it’s not like Jordan was on a vacation while in college.

        So the basketball wear-and-tear between the two is roughly comparable – Kobe has logged more minutes playing professional basketball at age 34 compared to Jordan, but Kobe also benefits from advances in medicine (The Orthokine/”Kobe treatment” in Germany comes to mind).

  7. pl4tinum514 - Apr 11, 2013 at 8:15 AM

    Lakers could beat some good teams if they figured out how to play a whole game with full intensity, and get the ball to their big men like they have been lately.

    • asimonetti88 - Apr 11, 2013 at 10:47 AM

      The 5 man unit of Blake, Kobe, Clark, Pau and Dwight played 20 minutes together, had an offensive efficiency of 125.4 and a defensive efficiency of 86.3 (per Darius Soriano). That may be the Lakers best lineup right now.

      • bucrightoff - Apr 11, 2013 at 10:59 AM

        Again, perspective. Against an injury depleted 12 games under .500 Blazers team. The Lakers next two games against Golden State and San Antonio will be much better indicators. Play the same and maybe they can make noise. Get blown away and get ready for tee times.

      • asimonetti88 - Apr 11, 2013 at 11:01 AM

        Don’t know why it needs perspective. I never said it will win a championship, only that it is the Lakers best lineup right now. Do you disagree? What do you think is the Lakers best 5 man unit?

      • bucrightoff - Apr 11, 2013 at 11:44 AM

        Not Steve Blake, thats for sure. Way, way too much of a defensive liability. Ron Ron would be better. To me the best 5 the Lakers can have is Bryant, Artest, Jameson, Gasol and Howard. Floor spacing big man, length in the middle, Kobe can dominate the ball and Ron Ron brings the defense.

      • aboogy123456 - Apr 11, 2013 at 11:53 AM

        Steve Blake is an above average defender and definitely better than nash on defense. I think he’s earned more or nash’s minutes when nash comes back.

  8. aboogy123456 - Apr 11, 2013 at 8:16 AM

    History right in front of our eyes.. I can’t believe there are people out there who actually think Kobe is hurting the lakers.

  9. kw27p - Apr 11, 2013 at 8:26 AM

    La sucks who cares. Enough laker headlines. The team is irrelevant. Find something else to write about ya hack

  10. iamjimmyjack - Apr 11, 2013 at 9:01 AM

    I’m very pleased with the lakers recent response to their mini losing streak. Not sure how many back to backs the lakers have won this year. But it’s not many. Love him or hate him, there’s no denying that Kobe is putting up his best season in years statistically. Mamba out.

  11. saint1997 - Apr 11, 2013 at 9:03 AM

    Any news on whether Blazers injuries are any serious or them just holding players out longer so as to tank?

  12. mahhelo - Apr 11, 2013 at 10:34 AM

    @magicloserguy, wasn’t Lillard awarded 3 free throws on a very questionable shooting foul then a tech against Blake to give him a 4 point play?

    • asimonetti88 - Apr 11, 2013 at 10:49 AM

      yes

  13. losanginsight - Apr 11, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    It’s funny how mediocre teams always play the LAkers like a game 7. Too bad for those teams and cities they don’t play hard every night or LA wouldn’t have
    16 Banners.
    Look at all you haters. You are the problem. Always on here talking down on LA and giving them your attention. This is why Stern wants LA in the playoffs because All of you people in ring-less cities will tune in and watch the Greatest Player since MJ.
    Keep watching and keep hating.
    Go LAkeshow
    #vino

  14. paulhargis53 - Apr 11, 2013 at 12:25 PM

    losang: What’s that?! I can’t hear you over these 17 rings…..

  15. kb2408 - Apr 11, 2013 at 12:47 PM

    17 rings? Of which 13 were won in the 50’s and 60’s.
    I’ll be so glad when the Lakers pass Boston so their fans can’t keep playing the “17 card”.
    As for those comparing MJ and Kobe at 34, it’s not a fair comparison. How many seasons had MJ played at 34? How many miles did his body have on it at 34 compared to Kobe’s? While Kobe was competing against grown men in the NBA at 17, MJ was preparing for his first year in college.
    For those that doubt the Lakers future dominance and predict their demise after Kobe, tune into “the Herd”. He’s talking about how the Lakers are going hard for LeBron in 2014. LeBron has exactly ONE endorsement deal. The greatest player in the world with ONE endorsement deal?! Playing in Los Angeles with Dwight would surely change that. Will it actually happen? We shall see.
    Go Lakers!!

  16. themagicfanguy - Apr 11, 2013 at 3:54 PM

    @spthegr8 At least I HAVE something to look forward to, even if it is only a lottery pick. The Lakers have what in their future? Barely squeaking into or just missing out on the playoffs. No good draft picks. A bunch of old and washed up players who don’t play hard enough to deserve the huge contracts they come with. Lakers are stuck at being mediocre until Jim Buss stops making decisions and you know it. The management is terribly bad. Imagine if a you gave the Lakers current roster to the Spurs office and staff? They’d win a ring every year.

  17. spthegr8 - Apr 11, 2013 at 5:18 PM

    @magicfanguy
    I agree with a lot of what you just said. Except the part about you having “something too look forward too”??? The only thing you have too look forward too is mediocrity & you KNOW that all too well!!! I think the franchise should consider a name change. How does this sound, the Mediocre Magic?? The Miserable Magic?? The Maybe next year Magic???

  18. paulhargis53 - Apr 11, 2013 at 7:23 PM

    kb, lakers 16 titles. 11 won prior to 1988.
    5 won in the 50’s in MINNEAPOLIS! Sthu!

    Titles are titles, they all count dummy.

    You’re about as dumb as lakerslurper aren’t you sausage wallet?

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