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Trail Blazers fight, fall short at Lakers

03/24/12
  1. Written by: KevinHudson  / avg. rating: 5.0


    Portland Trail Blazers coach Kaleb Canales has spoken frequently of his team's need to "compete" and show "resolve" during his first five games at the helm.

    Friday in Los Angeles, the Trail Blazers did plenty of both, yet fell short to the Lakers, 103-96, in front of 18,997 at the Staples Center.

    "The effort was there. There was no question about that, and we were in the game. We were battling," said Portland forward LaMarcus Aldridge. "I think guys played hard and played together and we had a chance to win"

    Portland (22-26) trailed 30-19 after one period and by 12 early in the second quarter, but fought back to tie the game at 48-48 late in the first half.
     
    Los Angeles (30-18) would score the last five points of the half to lead 53-48 at the break.

    Aldridge kept the Trail Blazers within striking distance with 21 first-half points and would finish with a game-high 29 points, nine rebounds.

    "He’s our All-Star, he’s our go to guy. We’re going to keep playing through him," said Portland coach Kaleb Canales. "He’s in a read and react decision making [process] and I thought he made great decisions tonight. We just came up a little short."

    Portland never led in the contest, but battled back to tie the game again at 61-61 midway through the third quarter. The Trail Blazers kept the Lakers within reach throughout the second half, drawing to within one point eight times, the last at 90-89 on Raymond Felton's 3-pointer with four minutes left to play.

    The Lakers surged ahead from there, making late free throws and holding on for the final margin.

    Wes Mathews was the only starter to add double-digit points to Aldridge's total, scoring 16 points to go along with five rebounds and two assists.

    New Trail Blazers forward JJ Hickson tallied 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting to lead the Portland reserves, followed by Jamal Crawford with 10 points as the Trail Blazers bench outscored the Lakers reserves 34-13.

    All five Los Angeles starters scored in double digits, led by Andrew Bynum with 28 points, nine rebounds. Recent addition Ramon Sessions notched a double-double with 20 points, 11 assists and six rebounds.

    Pau Gasol led all rebounders with 16 boards and completed his double-double with 10 points as the Lakers outrebounded the Trail Blazers 53-29.

    "We have got to rebound. That is where the game was lost," Hickson said. "We fought hard though."

    Portland returns home to take on the Golden State Warriors, 6 p.m., Sunday at the Rose Garden. The game can be seen locally on Comcast SportsNet (Comcast channel 37). 750 AM The Game and NBA Audio League Pass will have the play-by-play call.   

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