The Trail Blazers February free-fall continued Friday night in Los Angeles.
And perhaps no outing in their depressing descent has been more hard to swallow than the outcome they suffered at the Staples Center.
The Blazers played as fun as free and as well as they have all season, but the Los Angeles Lakers had just enough mettle to outlast them 111-107 before a sellout crowd of 18,997.
In the end, Kobe Bryant was too good, the Lakers were too clutch and the Blazers were too unlucky.
“They made some plays, made big shots and we didn’t make big shots,” Blazers small forward Nicolas Batum said. “We couldn’t make plays at the end.”
There were countless plays that decided the outcome, but when Blazers fans look back on Friday night’s loss, they know doubt will cry foul at a late video review that did not go their way. After Bryant made two free throws with 12.9 seconds left, the Lakers led 109-105 and the Blazers faced an uphill climb to victory.
Coach Terry Stotts called a timeout and drew up a shot for Nicolas Batum in the corner — similar to the play that resulted in Batum’s game-winner earlier this season at Cleveland. And just as it did against the Cavaliers, it worked to perfection against the Lakers as Batum gathered an in-bounds pass from Wesley Matthews in the corner and swished a three-pointer to inch the Blazers back to within a point.
Kobe Bryant, Lakers, video review burn Blazers
Oregonian | Feb 23