Trail Blazers vs Lakers Friday, 04/08/11 AT 07:00PM

Preview: Trail Blazers Avoid Season Sweep Against Lakers

04/08/11
  1. Written by: ShalamarClark  / avg. rating: 4.7



    With three games remaining, the Portland Trail Blazers will try to protect their sixth place position and avoid a season sweep to the Los Angeles Lakers, when they compete in a back-to-back Friday at the Rose Garden. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 PM.

    The Trail Blazers (46-33) jumped one-half game ahead of New Orleans (45-33) into the sixth spot in the West following Thursday’s 98-87 win in Utah.

    Gerald Wallace scored 29 points, including tying a season-high four 3-pointers, and eight rebounds, and Nicolas Batum returned to the starting lineup and notched 21 points. 

    LaMarcus Aldridge recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, Wesley Matthews registered 18 points and seven rebounds, and Brandon Roy led the bench production with 11 points for Portland.

    The Trail Blazers will return home, where two of their last three games will be played, and try to stop the Lakers from posting their first sweep since the 1988-89 season. 

    On March 20, Los Angeles (55-23) went up 3-0 in the series after the 84-80 win at the Staples Center snapped Portland’s three-game streak.

    The Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, who has averaged 23.7 points in three meetings against the Trail Blazers, scored a team-high 22 points and evened the game at 76-76 with 2:22 left in the fourth quarter to end Los Angeles on a 12-4 run.

    Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol posted a double-double apiece. Odom had 16 points and 11 rebounds, and Gasol tallied 14 points and 13 rebounds. Ron Artest chipped in with 10 points for the Lakers, who played without Andrew Bynum, who served a two-game suspension. 

    Batum scored a season-high 25 points and hit four 3-pointers. Aldridge finished with 18 points and Rudy Fernandez added 10 from the bench.
     
    Marcus Camby grabbed 11 rebounds, but left the game with 4:19 in the fourth after Bryant landed on Camby’s right ankle following a rebound as Portland held a two-point lead.
     
    One thing that can help the Trail Blazers is their shooting. Wallace, who’s averaging 18.6 points on 55 percent shooting in his last 10 games, has recorded double-digit points in his previous nine contests.
     
    Batum has done the same, hitting the double-digit mark in 10 of his last 12 games. In his last four matchups, he’s averaging 17.5 points and completing 58 percent from the field.

    At home, the Trail Blazers are 9-2 in their last 11 against the Lakers.

    Portland will look to drop Los Angeles for its fourth consecutive loss, tying it longest losing streak of the season, after falling to the Golden State Warriors, 95-87, on the road Wednesday.

    Bryant led the Lakers with 25 points and Bynum punched in 13 points and 17 rebounds, but were topped by 26 points from Golden State's Monta Ellis.

    Gasol had 18 points and Matt Barnes add 10 off the bench, but Los Angles, which shot four percent better from the field, had 17 turnovers in the loss.

    Portland will be without Marcus Camby (neck), Greg Oden (knee) and Elliot Williams (knee).

    Watch the Trail Blazers in action on KGW and Comcast SportsNet Channel 37 with Mike Barrett and Mike Rice, and listen to the live play-by-play from Brian Wheeler and Antonio Harvey on 95.5 FM The Game.

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