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Blazers hope to start new win streak against Lakers
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Portland Trail Blazers aim to start a new winning streak, but will have to end their road woes against the Los Angeles Lakers Sunday night at Staples Center.
The Trail Blazers' season-high 11-game winning streak came to an end with Wednesday's 120-106 loss at Phoenix. The Blazers hope to get back on track in Los Angeles, where they have lost six straight, 11 of 12 and 20 of their previous 23 contests against the Lakers.
In the loss to the Suns, LaMarcus Aldridge scored a team-high 24 points, Damian Lillard added 16 and Nicolas Batum finished with 15 points. Robin Lopez ended with 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Blazers, who lost for the first time since Nov. 5 versus Houston.
Portland shot 45.3 percent and made only 7-of-19 3-pointers. The team also blew a 39-23 advantage at one point.
Two of Portland's three losses (13-3) have come against Phoenix.
"I don't know. We had a great start," Batum said. "We played like we want to play: great defense, we put the ball inside, we moved the ball and we were sharing the ball. Everything was perfect. We go up 16 and the bench comes in and they do the same job. Then we aren't making shots, we missed one shot, two shots, three shots and they got hot. And we know when this team gets on fire from three you have to stop them and that's what happened tonight."
The Blazers fell to 7-2 away from the Rose City and will start a four-game homestand Monday versus Indiana, Oklahoma City, Utah and Dallas.
Los Angeles has won two straight and five of its last six games, and completed a three-game road trip at 2-1 following Friday's 106-102 victory against the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
Wesley Johnson scored 27 points on 9-of-11 shooting and made 6-of-7 from beyond the 3-point line, while Shawne Williams contributed 20 points, nine rebounds and three assists for the Lakers, who shot 45 percent for the game and buried 14-of-31 3-pointers.
Pau Gasol had 13 points and 12 rebounds and Jordan Farmar also scored 13 points for L.A., which erased an eight-point hole (99-91) with under five minutes to play. The biggest factor for the Lakers was overcoming a 76-28 difference in points inside.
"I think we rope-a-doped today. They got so tired of beating us up in there, they got tired," Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said of Detroit's inside game.'
Gasol (ankle/hand) is probable for Sunday's game.
The Lakers, who are still toiling without star Kobe Bryant (Achilles surgery), look to extend their home winning streak to four games and are 6-3 as the host this season. They went 3-1 against Portland a season ago and have won eight of the previous 11 contests between the teams.
Meanwhile, there are reports Bryant, who is out indefinitely, may return Friday at Sacramento after a week of practice.
12/01 10:21:42 ET