Bryant out but Lakers beat the Blazers 99-82Feb 7, 2010 - 6:35 AM By ANNE M. PETERSON AP Sports Writer
PORTLAND, Ore.(AP) -- Lamar Odom thinks the reason the Los Angeles Lakers finally snapped a nine-game losing streak in Portland was because they didn't have Kobe Bryant.
But he meant no disrespect.
"I think it made us a little more focused as a group, to come in here and do whatever we had to do to stay in the game," said Odom, who matched his career high with 22 rebounds to go with 10 points in the Lakers' 99-82 victory over the Trail Blazers on Saturday night.
Bryant sat out with a sore left ankle. The 12-time All-Star and last year's NBA finals MVP had played in 235 straight games.
Ron Artest had 21 points and the Lakers pulled away in the fourth quarter, leading by as many as 19 points.
Portland was again without All-Star guard Brandon Roy, who announced earlier in the evening that he would miss the next three games and the All-Star game to heal his sore right hamstring.
The Lakers had not won at the Rose Garden since Feb. 23, 2005. The victory snapped a three-game losing streak overall against the Blazers.
"We were aware of it," Odom said about the streak. "And we wanted to come up here and play strong."
LaMarcus Aldridge led Portland with 16 points. He was asked whether the Blazers let their guard down a little bit when Bryant didn't play.
"No, we came to play. The first quarter, we were right there. Second quarter, down eight or so, but we had good looks," he said. "They just didn't fall for us tonight. It was just one of those nights were we couldn't find it."
Bryant originally sprained his ankle in Philadelphia last week. He aggravated it during Wednesday night's victory over Charlotte when Odom stepped on his foot.
Bryant had last missed a game on March 7, 2007, because of a suspension. He had not missed a game because of injury since Dec. 8, 2006.
The Lakers said he would be evaluated on Sunday.
"We reacted well," Lakers forward Pau Gasol said. "We played hard, we played well and the result was a very good win."
Bryant, who is averaging 28 points, played the night before in the Lakers' 126-113 loss to the Denver Nuggets. He had 33 points and nine rebounds.
"At 5:30, I thought Kobe was going to play," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "Then I went to the coach's room and Kobe followed me and said. `I'm thinking about not playing tonight.' I said, `It's OK if you don't.'
"Then I saw him 10 minutes later at 6 p.m. and he said, `I'm going to take the night off."'
Bryant left the locker room at the Rose Garden before reporters were allowed to enter.
Roy has missed 12 of the last 13 games. He was originally hurt in a Jan. 13 game against Milwaukee, then aggravated the injury on Jan. 20 at Philadelphia.
Roy, who leads the Blazers with 23.1 points per game, said at a news conference before the game that there was no formal timetable for his return.
The Blazers went up 39-30 in the second quarter, but the Lakers wouldn't allow the margin to get any bigger.
Derek Fisher's fast-break layup pulled Los Angeles to within 41-39 before Gasol's bank shot tied it.
Nicolas Batum's 3-pointer prevented the Lakers from going ahead until Artest's 3-pointer made it 48-46 with 1:07 left before the half.
Artest added a 30-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Lakers a 54-48 lead going into the break.
"They left me wide open, and I've been shooting pretty well from 3 this year," he said.
Artest's layup put the Lakers up 65-55 midway through the third quarter, and Gasol's dunk made it 73-64 to start the fourth.
The Lakers got a scare early in the game when Andrew Bynum left with a hip injury. He returned, but then sat out the second half. His condition was unclear.
NOTES: The Blazers celebrated their 40th anniversary. Portland was awarded an NBA franchise on Feb. 6, 1970. ... Sunday is Blazers forward Juwan Howard's birthday. He will be 37. ... The Blazers had a franchise-low two offensive rebounds.
LA LAKERS 99
PORTLAND 82 FINAL
Feb 7 12:22 AM
LA LAKERS 73
PORTLAND 64 END, 3RD QTR
Feb 6 11:50 PM
HALFTIME 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
--- --- --- --- -----
LA LAKERS 26 28 54
PORTLAND 29 19 48 HALFTIME
HIGH SCORERS AT HALFTIME
LAL - SHANNON BROWN 14, RON ARTEST 11,
DEREK FISHER 8
POR - LAMARCUS ALDRIDGE 12, JUWAN HOWARD 10,
ANDRE MILLER 8
Feb 6 11:10 PM
LA LAKERS 26
PORTLAND 29 END, 1ST QTR
Feb 6 10:39 PM
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