Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 3)

Series starts 2/1

Game 1: Tuesday, February 1st
Trail Blazers79Final
Game 2: Wednesday, February 23rd
Trail Blazers83
Game 3: Wednesday, April 20th
Trail Blazers106

Trail Blazers 79

(17-26, 7-17 away)

Lakers 92

(24-19, 17-9 home)

    Coverage: FSW

    7:30 PM ET, February 1, 2005

    STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA

    1 2 3 4 T
    POR 29 10 20 2079
    LAL 26 23 20 2392

    Top Performers

    Por: D. Stoudamire 25 Pts, 6 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl

    LAL: C. Atkins 19 Pts, 4 Reb, 8 Ast, 1 Stl

    Lakers take control with 15-6 fourth-quarter run

    LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The last thing the Los Angeles Lakers want is a coaching change.

    And they don't expect one.

    Tomjanovich is expected to step down as coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, sources told ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher on Tuesday.

    Team spokesman John Black confirmed that Tomjanovich, 56, is considering resigning because of health reasons -- though not a recurrence of bladder cancer -- but denied that a final decision had been made.

    Hours after learning that Tomjanovich was thinking about resigning, Los Angeles beat the Portland Trail Blazers 92-79 Tuesday night behind Caron Butler and Chucky Atkins -- who both believe their coach will remain on the job.

    "I expect him to be back," said Atkins, who had 19 points and eight assists. "Right now, he's still our coach. Everything else is just speculation. We expect him to come back and lead us to where we want to be.

    "I'm a Rudy Tomjanovich fan. I hope he comes back -- the sooner, the better."

    Butler had 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Lamar Odom added 18 points for the Lakers (24-19), who won their second straight after a season-high three-game losing streak.

    "Nothing's been confirmed yet. We'll see what happens," Butler said. "I'm just praying for him. I know he's a great coach and a good man. He's got a great relationship with us."

    Team spokesman John Black said earlier Tuesday that Tomjanovich, who returned to coaching this season after recovering from bladder cancer, was considering several options -- including resignation -- because of health issues.

    "This has nothing to do with cancer," Black said. "He's our head coach until he decides to do otherwise."

    The game against the Blazers was the second Tomjanovich missed because of what the team said was a stomach virus. Black said Tomjanovich has also had a sinus infection.

    Assistant coach Frank Hamblen has led the Lakers to a pair of victories in Tomjanovich's absence.

    "I don't even want to talk about it. I hope Rudy's back tomorrow," Hamblen said when asked about Tomjanovich's future.

    Black said he had no idea when Tomjanovich would be back on the bench -- if indeed he stays on the job. Tomjanovich signed a $30 million, five-year contract last summer to succeed Phil Jackson.

    "He has discussed this with the appropriate people in the organization," Black said. "When he does make a decision, it will be announced at the appropriate time."

    The win was the fifth in nine games for the Lakers since Kobe Bryant sprained his right ankle Jan. 13 in a victory over Cleveland.

    "Everybody in here is still shocked and numb," Bryant said before the game. "I called him at the house as soon as I got here and left him a message. I just hope he's doing all right. We're all just as surprised as anybody else.

    "Hopefully, he'll come back and continue coaching us. If he doesn't, we'll have to just kind of go from there. But our main concern is him as a person."

    Damon Stoudamire scored 25 points, Ruben Patterson added 20 and Nick Van Exel had 18 for the Blazers (17-26), who lost for the 14th time in 18 games.

    Portland's Zach Randolph, averaging a team-leading 19.9 points, missed all 12 of his shots in going scoreless while playing 29 minutes.

    "I have never played like this in my life," Randolph said.

    "What happened to him? He didn't score. He couldn't get a bucket to go down," Blazers coach Maurice Cheeks said.

    The Blazers played their second game without Darius Miles (suspension) and their fourth without Derek Anderson (sinus infection and dental problems).

    Miles, suspended for two games for arguing with Cheeks during a film session, is eligible to play Wednesday night against Denver.

    "Darius coming back tomorrow I think will definitely help our team, and I just hope he's learned from the mistake that he made and he can turn a negative into a positive," Stoudamire said. "I think we can get through it, but we need people to grow up."

    The Lakers clinched the victory by outscoring the Blazers 15-6 to start the fourth quarter for an 85-64 lead.

    Los Angeles scored the first nine points of the third quarter for a 58-39 lead. With Van Exel scoring nine points, the Blazers went on a 16-4 run to draw within seven. Los Angeles led 69-59 entering the final period.

    The Lakers outscored Portland 23-10 in the second quarter for a 49-39 halftime lead. The Blazers missed their first 11 shots while being outscored 15-1 before Van Exel made a 3-pointer with 3:47 left before halftime, and wound up shooting 2-of-17 in the period.

    Patterson shot 6-of-7 for 12 points and Stoudamire added 11 as the Blazers took a 29-26 first-quarter lead after being ahead by as many as 10 points.

    Game notes

    After hosting San Antonio on Thursday night, the Lakers play 24 of their last 38 games on the road. They have played 17 road games -- fewest in the NBA. The Blazers have played 24 road games. ... Lakers F Devean George has been diagnosed with a bone bruise in his right foot, delaying his season debut. He hasn't played while recovering from offseason surgery on his left ankle. ... Lakers G Tierre Brown tied his career high with nine assists and the Lakers tied their season high with 28. ... The Blazers shot 19-of-62 (30.6 percent) in the final three periods after going 13-of-26 in the first quarter.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 79 92
    FGM-FGA 32-88 (.364) 41-85 (.482)
    3PM-3PA 7-22 (.318) 5-15 (.333)
    FTM-FTA 8-9 (.889) 5-8 (.625)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 9-40 9-46
    Assists 17 28
    Turnovers 10 13
    Steals 8 8
    Blocks 8 3
    Fast Break Points 7 18
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 14 (1/0) 11 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 10 19

    Top Performers

    Los Angeles
    Damon Stoudamire Stoudamire
    Points: 25
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Chucky Atkins Atkins
    Points: 19
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 8
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0