Outside of Nash, the rest of the Lakers' starting lineup played heavy minutes for the second straight night. Dwight Howard played 41 minutes, Pau Gasol had 16 points and 9 boards in 40 minutes, Metta World Peace scored 10 points and grabbed 3 boards in 33 minutes, and Kobe Bryant put up 30 points but had 7 turnovers in 38 minutes.
Los Angeles dug themselves another hole in the first quarter Wednesday, giving up 30 points and 8 turnovers. There was 13 lead changes in the first period, but the Lakers offense began to stall once coach Mike Brown started making subs in the second quarter. Once Nash was knocked out of the game with about 2:30 left in the half, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard were forced to become the facilitators of the offense. A forced shot by Kobe on the Lakers' last possession of the first half lead to a three pointer by Nick Batum which gave Portland the five point lead and all the momentum going into the break.
Once again, the Lakers could not get the offense going in the second half so Dwight Howard took over the game, scoring 12 in the third period. The Lakers had no answer for Nick Batum and Wesley Matthews in the third, and Portland led by 16 going into the fourth quarter. Foul trouble for Los Angeles meant multiple subs by Brown in the fourth. The Lakers had no cohesion on offense, Portland pulled away and never trailed in the second half.
The Lakers are now 0-2 to start the season. They have tomorrow off and will head home to face the cross-town-rival Clippers on Friday night. The Lakers must improve their defense, bench play, and ball control if they want to get their first win on Friday. Steve Nash was diagnosed with a shin contusion and will be evaluated tomorrow.
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