Blazers beat Lakers, lead Western conference

Credit: AP Photo/Don Ryan

Portland Trail Blazers forward Gerald Wallace, right, drives on Los Angeles Lakers forward Metta World Peace during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012.


by Anne M. Peterson - AP Sports Writer

Posted on January 6, 2012 at 12:33 PM

With their hot start, the Blazers will

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Gerald Wallace had 31 points and sparked a key third-quarter run to lead the Portland Trail Blazers to a fast-paced 107-96 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night.

LaMarcus Aldridge added 28 points and 10 rebounds for Portland, which led by as many as 14 points. The Blazers had just four turnovers despite pushing the tempo for the entire game.

The Blazers sit atop the Western Conference at 5-1 -- their lone loss coming on New Year's Day at the Clippers.

Kobe Bryant scored 30 points despite a torn ligament in his right wrist, and Andrew Bynum had 21 points and 12 rebounds for the Lakers, who have had trouble at the Rose Garden with losses in 11 of their last 13 game in Portland.

Los Angeles went 0 for 11 from 3-point range.

The Lakers, who fell to 4-4, were coming off a 108-99 home victory over Houston on Tuesday. Bynum, who was suspended for the first four games of the season, had 21 points and 22 rebounds against the Rockets -- the first 20-20 game of his career.

The Blazers were coming off a 103-93 win at Oklahoma City.

The Lakers were without Josh McRoberts, who sat out a second straight game with a strained big toe on his left foot.

Blazers coach Nate McMillan promised that Portland would run against the Lakers, and the result was a frenetic pace from the start. Paul Gasol's tip-in gave Los Angeles their biggest lead of the first half at 28-21.

The Blazers closed the gap and Jamal Crawford's jumper and free throw put them up 36-35 with just over 8 minutes to go in the half. The lead was short-lived but Portland stayed close.

Los Angeles shot 61 percent from the field, but led just 56-52 at the half. Portland shot 43 percent. Both teams were even at 46 percent in the end.

The Blazers trailed 60-59 early in the third quarter, but Wallace made a layup and a free throw early to spark a 17-6 run capped by Wesley Matthews' 3-pointer that made it 76-66.

Crawford made a 27-foot 3-pointer as time ran out in the third to put Portland up 84-74.

Wallace appeared to seal it with a fast-break layup past falling Lakers guard Steve Blake that made it 96-83 with 6:39 left.

Notes: The Lakers have won seven of the last eight meetings with the Blazers at Staples Center. ... Blazers G Wesley Matthews' dad Wes played for the Lakers from 1986-88 during his nine-year NBA career. ... Oregon Ducks running back Kenjon Barner had a courtside seat. ... A fan in the crowd had a sign reading "Tonight I'm against World Peace" -- a jab at the former Ron Artest.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)