Rapid Reaction: Blazers 124, Lakers 112
April, 1, 2014
By Dave McMenamin
LOS ANGELES -- Nick Young did his best to keep the Los Angeles Lakers' "Player-Haters Ball" going for another night.
But it turns out the purple and gold's spoiler party was short-lived.
Young started the game 8-for-8 from the field and finished with a season-high 40 points, but the Lakers were unable to replicate the beating they gave the surging Phoenix Suns on Sunday or the tough time they gave the Trail Blazers a couple of weeks ago in Portland.
While Young did his part on his own, going 15-for-26 overall, it was no match for Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge (31 points, 15 rebounds, six assists) and Damian Lillard (34 points, eight assists), who made the Lakers pay from both inside and out.
How it happened: The Lakers trailed by as many as nine in the first quarter but pulled to within two, 63-61 at the half. It was a different story after intermission as the Blazers built an eight-point lead heading into the fourth quarter and led by as many as 23 in the final period en route to a runaway victory.
What it means: So much for the power of that Pau Gasol-Chris Kaman starting lineup that Lakers fans have been clamoring for. Both Gasol (4-for-9, nine points) and Kaman (6-for-16, 12 points) looked out of sync offensively. Meanwhile, for all of that size, the Lakers were outscored 44-34 in the paint and the Lakers' twin towers combined for only 10 rebounds as L.A. was also beaten on the boards 50-45.
Hits: Steve Nash had 10 points and 10 assists off the bench.
Kent Bazemore scored 17 points on 6-for-10 shooting.
Misses: Wesley Johnson and Jordan Hill were casualties of the rotation, both collecting DNP-CDs.
Meyers Leonard was called for a flagrant foul 2 for knocking Kendall Marshall to the floor with 36.9 seconds left. The good news is Young and Ryan Kelly immediately came to Marshall's defense.
Stat of the game: 33-2. That's how many different starting lineups the Lakers have used this season compared to the Blazers. In related news, Portland has nearly twice as many wins as L.A. does this season (49 to 25).
Up next: The Lakers travel to Sacramento for the second night of a back-to-back Wednesday. The Kings (26-48) are nearly as bad as L.A. is (25-49).