NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, February 21st (All times eastern)
Portland Trail Blazers (23-32) at Los Angeles Lakers (30-24), 10:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - All-Star Game MVP Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers return to the court tonight, as they welcome the Portland Trail Blazers to the Staples Center.
Bryant scored 31 points, dished out six assists and had six steals to lead the West to an easy 153-132 win over the East in the 56th annual All-Star Game on Sunday at the Thomas & Mack Center.
The All-Star break came at the right time for the Lakers, who lost five in a row heading into the mid-season classic. The Lakers are in second place in the Pacific Division, 10 1/2 games behind the division-leading Phoenix Suns.
A nine-time All-Star, Bryant leads the Lakers in scoring (28.8 ppg) and assists (5.5 apg). Forward Lamar Odom, who is second on the team in scoring (16.6 ppg), has grabbed a team-best 9.4 rebounds per game.
The Lakers are 19-8 as the home team this season. They are scheduled to host Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics on Friday in the finale of a four-game homestand.
Portland plays its second game since the All-Star break. On Tuesday, rookie Brandon Roy poured in 27 points and dished out seven assists as the Trail Blazers edged the Utah Jazz, 103-100, in the first game for both teams coming out of the All-Star break.
Zach Randolph scored 22 points and pulled down 12 rebounds in the win over the Jazz for Portland, which snapped a two-game skid, but began the second half of the schedule with one more win than they had all of last season. Ime Udoka ended with 15 points, while Dan Dickau netted 11 and Jarrett Jack finished with 10 points and six assists for the Blazers.
The Trail Blazers, who have dropped two in a row as the visitor, are 10-18 on the road this season. They return home to host the Seattle SuperSonics on Monday at the Rose Garden.
This is the second of three meetings between the clubs this season. On November 8th, Randolph posted 36 points and 10 rebounds as the Trail Blazers started picked up a 101-90 victory over the Lakers at the Rose Garden.
Portland has lost three straight and nine of its last 10 at the Lakers. The Trail Blazers have won two of the last three contests in the series.
The Lakers are scheduled to host the Trail Blazers on March 16th at the Staples Center.
02/21 11:09:27 ET