NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, February 22nd (All times Eastern)
Portland Trail Blazers (25-29) at Los Angeles Lakers (26-29), 10:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - With the loss of owner Dr. Jerry Buss still fresh on their minds, the Los Angeles Lakers look to close out a four-game homestand on a positive note Friday night versus the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Lakers paid tribute to Buss by handing the rival Boston Celtics a 113-99 loss Wednesday night thanks to a solid all-around performance. The word of the night afterward was energy, which was mainly directed to center Dwight Howard.
The All-Star Howard led the Lakers with 24 points and also added 12 rebounds. Earl Clark followed with 14 points and 16 rebounds, while Kobe Bryant had 16 points. Los Angeles had seven players with 10 or more points.
"When we move the ball we're pretty good," Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said. "It's all mental and winning will help, but a lot of it is ball movement and we're doing better."
Steve Nash passed Lakers legend Magic Johnson for fourth place on the all-time assists list, finishing with 14 points and seven assists for an L.A. squad that shot 50.6 percent for the game.
The Lakers are 2-1 on the residency, 17-11 at home and have won nine of 13 games overall. They will visit Dallas and Denver after the homestand.
Los Angeles was quiet before the NBA's trade deadline mainly because of the new rules under the collective bargaining agreement and luxury tax.
Portland made a move on Thursday in obtaining point guard Eric Maynor from the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder will receive the rights to forward Georgios Printezis and a trade exception Portland acquired from New York last summer.
The Trail Blazers have stumbled a bit with six straight losses and dropped a 102-98 home decision to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday. J.J. Hickson scored 25 points and pulled down 16 rebounds, while rookie Damian Lillard added 24 points and seven assists for the Trail Blazers.
"It's very disappointing with the defense in the first half," Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. "Obviously the slow start, getting down 12-0, had a lot to do with the first half. We gave up 63 points in the first half and 60 percent shooting. We can't afford to do that."
Phoenix scored 21 points off 18 Portland turnovers. Blazers All-Star center LaMarcus Aldridge scored 23 points in defeat.
In injury news for Portland, guards Wesley Matthews (ankle/elbow) and Ronnie Price (ankle) are questionable for Friday's game against the Lakers.
After visiting the Lakers, the Blazers will return to the Rose City for a four-game homestand versus Boston, Denver, Minnesota and Charlotte.
The 2012-13 season series between the Blazers and Lakers is tied at a game apiece, but Los Angeles has still won six of the previous nine encounters between the teams. Portland has lost five in a row and 10 of the last 11 matchups in Tinseltown.
02/22 10:26:21 ET