LOS ANGELES — Point guard Damian Lillard scored 17 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter, leading the Portland Trail Blazers to a 106-94 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on Sunday night.
Guard Wesley Matthews had 16 points for the Trail Blazers, who won their fourth in a row. Portland forward LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 15 points and nine rebounds.
Forward Wesley Johnson, who returned to the lineup after missing three games with a strained right hip flexor, scored 17 points to lead the Lakers, who lost for the third time in four games. Center Jordan Hill added 14 points, while forward Carlos Boozer finished with 13 points and nine rebounds.
Lillard scored eight points to key a 15-4 Portland surge that opened the final period. The visitors held an 89-76 cushion after a jumper by Aldridge with 6:50 remaining.
After the Lakers closed within 98-92 on two free throws by guard Wayne Ellington, Lillard emphatically sealed the win with a high-flying dunk and free throw with 1:04 remaining.
The Lakers (12-26) again played without guard Kobe Bryant, who was given the night off by coach Byron Scott to rest. Bryant also missed Friday’s 101-84 win over the Orlando Magic. His status for Tuesday’s game against the Miami Heat is unknown.
Portland (30-8) closed the half on a 10-2 run, capped by guard Steve Blake’s 3-pointer at the horn for a 50-45 advantage. Lillard scored 13 points and handed out seven assists in the first half. He didn’t add an assist after halftime.
In the third, the Trail Blazers went up 69-62 after a Lillard layup, but the Lakers answered with a 7-0 run to tie the score on a dunk by forward Tarik Black. A bucket by Aldridge and a free throw by forward Dorell Wright gave the Blazers a 72-69 lead at the end of the quarter.
Blazers center Chris Kaman, in his first game against the Lakers in Los Angeles since he bolted to Portland as a free agent during the offseason, scored nine points and pulled down 12 rebounds.
NOTES: Lakers coach Byron Scott admitted to overusing G Kobe Bryant earlier this season, but he said a recent reduction in minutes (about 32 per game) helped relieve some wear and tear on the 36-year-old. Asked if the Lakers might consider shutting Bryant down at some point, Scott said the club hasn’t considered it but might after the All-Star break. … Scott, on the late Roy Tarpley, who died Friday at age 50: “The thing that stood out about Roy was he was just an unbelievable athlete and just a great basketball player. Obviously, we’re all saddened that he passed away.” … Portland played again without C Robin Lopez (broken right hand), F Joel Freeland (right shoulder strain) and G Allen Crabbe (left knee strain). … The Trail Blazers host the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday. … The Lakers and the Miami Heat clash Tuesday at Staples Center.
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