Blazers top Lakers to halt skid at six

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- As the clock ran down and the Lakers

started sneaking up on the Trail Blazers, the Portland players

heard something that had been missing in recent weeks -- the

hometown fans were getting into the game.

"Beat L.A.! Beat L.A.!" the more than 19,000 fans chanted in

unison, showing more enthusiasm than they had last month, when the

Blazers went 2-11.

The players took the plea to heart and beat the Lakers 99-93

Wednesday night to snap a six-game losing streak. Zach Randolph had

20 points and eight rebounds.

"I'm sure some people were thinking the Lakers were going to

come back, but the crowd was great and they got behind us,"

grinning Portland coach Nate McMillan said.

Darius Miles stripped the ball from Smush Parker and went in for

a dunk with 10.6 seconds left to seal it for the Blazers, who led

by as many as 16 points.

Kobe Bryant, who said he was hampered by a sinus infection,

scored 35 points for the Lakers, who have lost three of four as

they jockey for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Travis Outlaw's dunk put Portland ahead 73-57 late in the third

quarter. With the Lakers making a comeback in the fourth, Outlaw

hit a jumper with 7:13 left that made it 84-74.

The Lakers narrowed it to 90-85 on Bryant's jumper with 3:20

left and the game appeared to be slipping away from Portland.

After Luke Walton made a pair of free throws, Parker's driving

finger-roll got the Lakers within 92-89 with 1:39 to go.

Steve Blake hit a pair of free throws for the Blazers before

Lamar Odom's layup narrowed it to 94-91. Blake hit a 21-foot

jumper, but Odom was able to capitalize on Bryant's missed

3-pointer with a reverse layup, making it 96-93.

Odom finished with 16 points for the Lakers.

"Some games you have to do the right thing basketball-wise to

win and we can't seem to do that," Odom said. "We don't play a

good offensive game and we can't win. That puts Kobe in a bind.

He's got to get 35 or 40 points for us to win. We should be

embarrassed. I know I am."

Blake added 19 points for the Blazers.

Portland's recent struggles on the court were compounded by

upheaval off it. Billionaire owner Paul Allen has made it known

that the team is losing money, and wants some kind of

public-private partnership to keep it afloat.

The move stunned many Blazers fans and prompted NBA commissioner

David Stern to comment, "It's our preference, our strong

preference, to have the Blazers in Portland, in Oregon, playing at

the Rose Garden and being able to be a financial success."

The Blazers pulled it together on the court to beat the rival


Portland went on a 12-4 run in the second quarter, capped by

Blake's 3-pointer and Miles' layup, to take a 44-32 lead, its

biggest to that point. Portland went on to lead 47-40 at the half.

Bryant got off to a slow start, hitting just 3-of-13 from the

field. He was, however, 6-for-6 from the free throw line to give

him 12 points at the break.

He was 15-of-15 from the line for the game.

"I'm just achy. You've got to push through it," Bryant said.

"My teammates talked about doing a better job trying to pick me up

sometimes and not having me shoulder the whole load all the time."

Portland coach Nate McMillan shook up his lineup by starting

newly acquired forward Brian Skinner instead of Miles.

Skinner came to Portland from Sacramento as part of a four-team,

nine-player trade at the deadline last week. Skinner finished with

nine points and 10 rebounds.

Portland has used six different lineups in the last six games.

"It was frustrating there for a little while. You're confidence

can get down," Blake said. "Winning changes everything."Game notes
The season series between the teams stands at 2-1 in favor

of the Blazers. ... One fan weighed in on the off-court turmoil

with a sign: "Blazer fans! Unite and support your team!" ...

Attendance was announced at 19,454, just short of the 19,860

capacity at the Rose Garden.