Sports Out West

Nick Young scores season-high 40 points, but Lakers fall to Trail Blazers 124-112

Damian Lillard Lakers

LOS ANGELES — Even with the return of Steve Nash and Pau Gasol and a season-high 40 points from Nick Young, it was still the same old story for the Los Angeles Lakers as on Tuesday they fell to the Portland Trail Blazers 124-112.

Portland was led by their two All-Stars in LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard, who scored 34 and 31 points respectively for the game.  

 The Trail Blazers held a 63-61 lead to start the second half despite shooting 39 percent from the field though the first two quarters of play, which they quickly stretched to double digits in the third quarter. Young, who scored 21 points on 8-of-9 shooting in the first half that included starting 8-of-8 from the field, checked into the game and made an impact as hit two consecutive 3-pointers to cut the deficit to five points.

Portland remained in control for the quarter as they forced Los Angeles shoot 28 percent  from the field and held an eight-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. In the fourth quarter, The Trail Blazers maintained their double digit margin that grew to as much as a game-high 23 behind a combined 19 points from Lillard and Aldridge.

“They are playing for a playoff spot,” Kent Bazemore said, who had 17 points in the loss. “Their two-headed monster showed up tonight in Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge. LaMarcus was huge down the stretch, and Dame just being Dame hitting big shots.”

In the loss head coach Mike D’Antoni decided to start Gasol and Chris Kaman in the frontcourt for just the fourth time this season and it didn’t go well as he expected.

“Well were down by 10 each time we did it that is kind of what you don’t like (to see),” D’Antoni said. “But again Pau Gasol is coming off vertigo and it could be a little bit of that. We were pretty slow foot when we are out there. That was thinking before and probably hasn’t changed much but we’ll look (into it).”

Kaman felt that he was not comfortable on the floor with Gasol due to the fact that each has played very little time with each other this season.

“I didn’t think it went that well. I didn’t feel comfortable,” Kaman aid, who had 12 points and six rebounds in the loss . “I don’t think Pau  felt comfortable. I think all of it just felt off. It wasn’t what I thought it  would be.”

As for Gasol, who made his return after missing the last four contests due to vertigo, it was a game that he thought he returned too soon due to the lingering symptoms of the illness.

“I am a little fatigued,” Gasol said, who scored nine points with four rebounds and seven assists in 28 minutes. ” I wasn’t feeling too well before the game, so I’m glad I got through it. I talked to the doctor and hopefully it’s going to continue to get better.”

Gasol also added that his status for Wednesday’s game is unknown as he will see how his body responds in the morning.

Nash on the other hand played well in 22 minutes on the court as he notched a double-double with 10 points and 10 assists despite turning his left ankle in the first half.

“The key for me is if I am moving well,” Nash said, after appearing in just his 13th game of the season. “I know that I can play at a high level. I felt good tonight and unfortunately I turned my ankle, but I was able to keep it going. It was a lot of fun and I felt like I really helped my teammates.”

Nash will likely sit Wednesday’s contest as it is the second game of a back-t0-back, which he has not played in all season long.

In the first quarter after Kendall Marshall made a 3-pointer that gave Los Angeles a 8-5 lead, Portland responded with a 14-3 run that included nine points from Lillard that helped stretch their lead to as much as nine points. However, when Nash check in the game midway through the quarter the flow of the offense was changed drastically different as he helped the Lakers cut the deficit to just two points heading into the second quarter at 29-27.

Los Angeles carried over their hot shooting in the second quarter as Nash dished three consecutive assists and Young caught fire offensively as he scored 18 of his 21 first half points that included making his first eight shots from the field. Despite the Lakers hitting 56 percent from the field in the quarter, the Blazers kept up as Aldridge scored their last six points that helped his team claim 63-61 lead at the half.

Photo Credit: AP

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Bob Garcia IV

Bob Garcia is a sports journalist from Southern California. He was a reporter for the award-winning newspaper, The Daily Sundial, at California State University, Northridge. You can follow him on Twitter, @BGarcia90.