Trail Blazers vs Lakers Sunday, 03/20/11 AT 06:30PM

Preview: Bynum Trouble Boosts Portland Success

  1. Written by: ShalamarClark  / avg. rating: 4.5

    The Portland Trail Blazers have picked up tons of momentum at home before heading into Los Angeles, where they look to keep it rolling in a Sunday back-to-back against the Lakers, who will be without Andrew Bynum. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:30 PM. 

    The Lakers' big center Bynum will serve a two-game suspension after committing a hard flagrant foul on Michael Beasley in Friday’s win over Minnesota. 

    His absence will be a helpful edge as Portland looks to put a blemish on Los Angeles’ 11-1 record since the All-Star Break. 

    The Lakers aren’t the only team to shift its motor into high gear lately. Portland has also sailed on a three-game winning streak after surpassing the century mark to beat Dallas, Cleveland and Philadelphia at the Rose Garden.

    On Saturday, the Trail Blazers’ Wesley Matthews and Gerald Wallace combined for 53 points to split the series with the Sixers after delivering a 110-101 beating.

    Matthews made six 3-pointers, five in the first quarter, after shooting 9-of-15 from the field and added on six rebounds. Wallace ended with 25 points, a season-high eight assists, six rebounds and poked away two of his four steals in the fourth quarter as Portland held Philadelphia scoreless on a four-minute stretch.

    LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum also scored in double digits. Aldridge picked up 18 points, a team-high seven rebounds and five assists, and Batum notched 16 points as the Trail Blazers shot 51.4 percent from the floor.

    Portland is looking for its first win against the Lakers after getting bumped off its longest six-game streak after All-Star Break. 

    On Feb. 23, Los Angeles climbed out of a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to stun the Trail Blazers at home in overtime 106-101. Kobe Bryant produced a game-high 37 points, nine rebounds and six assists, and scored eight of the Lakers’ last 12 points in the fourth to claim the 2-0 series lead.  

    Ron Artest had 24 points and made 5-of-6 threes to help Los Angeles end 6-of-11 beyond the arc. Pau Gasol recorded 18 points and a tied Aldridge for a game-best 14 rebounds, and Lamar Odom scored 13 points and four rebounds off the bench. 

    Aldridge led Portland with 29 points and completed 12 of his 18 shots. Batum and Matthews each contributed 22 after finding their touch from three-range. Batum nailed four long ones, while Matthews, who has hit at least three 3-pointers in his last five games, dialed in with two.

    The Lakers have posted the best record since coming off All-Star festivities, and their success continued to roll after beating Minnesota, 106-98, for their third straight win. Miami is the only team to beat Los Angeles on their 11-1 run.

    Gasol led the way with 25 points on 12-of-17 shooting and Bryant had 18 points, four rebounds and five assists. Shannon Brown chipped in with 14 points off the bench, while Bynum had a double-double with 10 points and a game-high14 rebound.

    Los Angeles has won six f the last seven matchups against Portland at home with the Lakers’ having the opportunity to claim its first season win over the Trail Blazers since 2004-2005.

    Portland can keep Los Angeles' defense on its heels with its improved ball movement. The Trail Blazers have totaled 29 assists in their last two games. 

    Portland will be without Greg Oden and Elliot Williams, who are both nursing knee injuries.

    Watch the Trail Blazers, who are a half a game behind No. 5 Denver, on KGW and on Comcast SportsNet Channel 37 with Mike Barrett and Mike Rice. Also listen to the live play-by-play from Brian Wheeler and Antonio Harvey on 95.5 FM The Game.

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