Lakers win in final seconds

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It’s been a strange week for the Los Angeles Lakers. The good news is that their friend Lamar Odom has regained consciousness in a Las Vegas Hospital and has now been transferred to a Los Angeles facility. But they will be without their star Kobe Bryant for a few games until a lower leg injury recovers.

On Saturday Night they beat the World Champion Golden State Warriors in San Diego, But the game was stopped early due to poor floor conditions at the Valley View Casino Center.

Lakers-Blazers1Monday night they faced the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center.

It’s just the preseason, but there is only one more game before the regular season begins so whatever the teams have to fix before the games count, has to be done in the next week.

That means getting their rookies up to speed with the veterans and the team system. With Julius Randle healthy, the Lakers have a strong front and backcourt.

Their star rookie D’Angelo Russell has been fitting in well with the offense. The Lakers expect him to be a steady, every game point guard, but they have several more point guards on the team, Marcelo Huertas and Jordan Clarkson.

They also have Metta World Peace back on the team. According to Peace, general manager Mitch Kupchak  had to be convinced to give him another shot with the team.

After Monday’s game the Los Angeles Lakers have to be very happy with their number one draft pick, D’Angelo Russell and their pick from last season, Julius Randle. Both have played well in this preseason. Plus they got a lot of minutes from another new player, Marcelo Huertas.

But it is Jordan Clarkson who has really stepped up for the team, especially in this game against the Portland Trail Blazers. He played 24 minutes and scored 17 points, with three assists and four rebounds.

This game started out good for Damian Lillard and the Blazers. The All Star scored 8 points in the first quarter and Mason Plumlee added seven. When the quarter was over the Blazers were ahead, 25-21.

It was a close the entire game. At the half the game was tied 47-47. The Blazers were able to stay ahead for most of the second half, but they could never put it out of reach for the Lakers. The third quarter ended with the Blazers in the lead 74-72.

It wasn’t the Lakers new players though that put the game in the win column. Just about every Laker that took the court contributed to the win. Nick Young had 12 points, Jabari Brown had 10. D’Angeo Russell finished with 12, but it was Ryan Kelly who gave them the win.

Ryan Kelly
Ryan Kelly

With the lead going from the Blazers to the Lakers and back in the fourth quarter, it came down to the final seconds when Kelly made a driving dunk to break the tie. The Blazers were unable to respond and the Lakers won, 104 to 102.

L.A. played better defense than Portland, which must make coach Byron Scott feel good. Larry Nance, Jr. had two steals to go with his seven points and four rebounds.

Damian Lillard finished with 20 points and six assists for the Trail Blazers; Mason Plumlee had nine points and three rebounds, Maurice Harkless had 15 points and five rebounds. C.J. McCollum and Allen Crabbe each contributed ten points.

The Lakers next game will be against the NBA champion Golden State Warriors on Thursday. The Blazers will face the Clippers, here at Staples Center on Thursday.

(All photos by Claudia Gestro)