Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series starts 1/11

Game 1: Wednesday, January 11th
Trail Blazers113
Game 2: Tuesday, February 21st
Trail Blazers82Final
Game 3: Wednesday, March 1st
Trail Blazers99
Game 4: Friday, April 14th
Trail Blazers99Final

Trail Blazers 82

(18-34, 6-21 away)

Lakers 99

(27-26, 14-10 home)

Coverage: FSW

7:30 PM ET, February 21, 2006

STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA

1 2 3 4 T
POR 21 19 15 2782
LAL 29 15 23 3299

Top Performers

Por: J. Dixon 16 Pts, 4 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl

LAL: K. Bryant 27 Pts, 6 Reb, 4 Ast, 5 Stl, 1 Blk

Kobe scoes 27 as Lakers pull away late against Blazers

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Lamar Odom has had his ups and downs this season.

He definitely was in an up mode Tuesday night.

Odom had 20 points, a season-high 17 rebounds and six assists, and the Los Angeles Lakers pulled away down the stretch for a 99-82 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.

"It was a really nice game. He did a lot of things well for us tonight," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said of Odom. "He has been saying he has been getting more comfortable playing in the offense. We asked him to do a variety of things, and that sparked his game tonight. His rebounding has been a great asset for us."

Kobe Bryant scored 15 of his 27 points in the last seven minutes, when the Lakers outscored the Blazers 25-16. But it was Odom who did much of the dirty work.

"When he's playing like that, being aggressive and taking open jumpers, we are a very, very dangerous team," said Bryant, who also had six rebounds, four assists and five steals. "Every game's a puzzle within the system. It's just a matter of him figuring out that puzzle night in and night out."

Smush Parker added 13 points, seven rebounds and a season-high nine assists, and Devean George also scored 13 for the Lakers (27-26), who won for just the third time in nine games.

"It is just game-by-game now. You have to win," Odom said. "My concentration level was high tonight. I've just got an aggressive mind-set right now. I didn't really do anything differently tonight -- still rebounded and drove to the hole."

Juan Dixon led Portland (18-34) with 16 points. Darius Miles had 13 points for the Blazers, who lost for the seventh time in nine games.

Zach Randolph, the Blazers' leading scorer and rebounder, had seven points and 10 rebounds before leaving the game for good with 3:02 left in the third quarter after being elbowed in the mouth.

"I think he has a chipped tooth and he should be OK," Blazers coach Nate McMillan said. "He got a pretty good blow to the mouth wrestling for a rebound."

The Blazers helped the Lakers' cause by making only 12 of 28 free throws, including 2-of-10 in the second quarter.

The Lakers shot 50 percent from the floor while the Blazers shot 39 percent. Los Angeles outrebounded Portland 50-37.

"Free throws and rebounding -- if we hit our free throws and we rebound the ball, then we'll be all right at the end of the game," Portland's Ruben Patterson said.

The Lakers outscored the Blazers 23-9 to finish the third quarter and begin the fourth, giving them a 74-57 lead. Rookie Jarrett Jack then scored his only nine points of the game to draw Portland within eight points.

That's when Bryant took over.

"He was taking some deep shots," McMillan said. "I thought we relaxed on him late, and those are shots he can make. But those are also shots you want him to take. You want to get a hand up and we wanted to be a little closer [to him].

"And if get a little closer and make him miss those shots, and it we make some free throws, maybe it's a different ballgame."

It was 78-67 when Bryant ran off 10 straight Los Angeles points in a little over two minutes, putting the Lakers on top 88-73.

"We kind of willed our way through," George said. "It was a shaky game -- first game back from the All-Star break. We're still a little shaky on defense. We're not communicating enough. We can't let guys get layups and easy buckets."

Odom had eight points, five rebounds and three assists in the third quarter as the Lakers outscored the Blazers 23-15, giving them a 67-55 lead.

The Lakers led 44-40 at halftime despite shooting 6-of-21 in the second period, when they were outscored 19-15.

Game notes

Lakers C Chris Mihm returned after missing six games because of a sprained right shoulder. Clearly not close to 100 percent and wearing a special pad, he had two points and three rebounds in 14 minutes. ... Portland's Joel Przybilla missed his fifth game because of right knee tendinitis, and teammate Theo Ratliff sat out his third with a sprained left ankle. ... The Lakers have won eight of their last nine home games against Portland. ... The Blazers entered averaging an NBA-low 88.7 points but beat the Lakers 113-103 in Portland last month. ... Miles made his first start since injuring his right knee 2½ months ago. He missed 34 games before returning to action last week, playing in two games before the All-Star break. ... Bryant's 35.0-point average was the highest at the break since Michael Jordan had a 37.0 average before the break 19 years ago.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press