Late Score Helps Lakers Hold Off Blazers, 107-106
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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Kent Bazemore threw an alley-oop to Wesley Johnson for the go-ahead dunk with 6.9 seconds left and the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 107-106 on Monday night.
Pau Gasol scored 22 points and the Lakers won their second straight, snapping the Blazers’ five-game winning streak. Jodie Meeks added 21 points.
The Lakers, who led by as many as 15 points in the first quarter, pushed the lead to 97-86 in the fourth on MarShon Brooks’ short jumper.
But Nicolas Batum’s 3-pointer narrowed the gap to 103-101 for the Blazers with 3:37 left before Wesley Matthews’ fadeaway jumper tied it at 105 with 1:10 left.
Damian Lillard hit one of two free throws to give Portland its first lead since the first quarter. But the officials reversed a possession call with 7.1 seconds left, giving the ball to the Lakers. Bazemore lobbed to Johnson for the dunk and Lillard missed a 3-pointer as time ran out.
Robin Lopez had 19 points and 16 rebounds, while Batum had 17 points and 15 rebounds for the Blazers.
Los Angeles was coming off a 126-122 victory at home Friday over Sacramento, which snapped a three-game losing streak. But the Lakers still sit at the bottom of the Western Conference with the Kings.
The Blazers won the first meeting against the Lakers, 114-108 on Dec. 1.
Xavier Henry, who had 27 points against the Blazers in December, returned to the Lakers’ lineup Monday after missing 28 games with a right knee injury, but he was played only sparingly. Coach Mike D’Antoni said he’d limit Henry’s minutes to start.
Steve Nash ran through drills on the court before the game but sat out of his eighth straight game after a brief return from a nerve root irritation, which causes him back pain.
Earlier in the day at shootaround, D’Antoni told reporters he was doubtful Nash would return this season, but said nothing was definite at this point.
“We’ve talked about it. He’s not completely healthy. We have 23 games left. We’re not going to make the playoffs. So what’s his objective into taking minutes away from the young guys that we’re trying to develop?” D’Antoni said. “That’s kind of the theme that we’re talking about.”
Nash, who made the trip to Portland, was noncommittal: “We’ll see how I feel next week and if I get a chance to practice.”
Nash, 40, has played in 10 games for the Lakers this season, averaging 7.6 points and 4.7 assists.
Kobe Bryant was also in Portland, but he has not been medically cleared to play after breaking his left knee in December.
The Lakers jumped out to a 31-16 lead in the first quarter, capping a 14-2 run with Meeks’ dunk. Portland struggled with seven turnovers, that led to 11 Los Angeles points.
Portland closed the gap in the second quarter, pulling to within 45-38 on Batum’s dish to Lopez for the dunk and a free throw. But Bazemore’s last-break dunk extended the Lakers’ lead to 56-47 with 3:27 left in the half.
The Lakers led 63-56 at the half.
Los Angeles wouldn’t let the Blazers get closer than four points and Gasol’s dunk extended the lead to 82-73 with 2:36 left. Dorell Wright hit two consecutive 3-pointers for Portland to close within 82-79, but Bazemore answered with a 3 for the Lakers.
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