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Staff report: Lillard, Whiteside turn in big performances at Staples Center

Friday night at Staples Center was set up for a pregame tribute to the late Kobe Bryant, then a Los Angeles Lakers victory over the Trail Blazers.

Damian Lillard, with some able assistance from Hassan Whiteside, had other ideas about the latter.

Lillard continued his string of otherworldly performances with 48 points and Whiteside had one of the greatest games of his career as the Blazers upset the Lakers 127-119.

The win was the fourth in five games for Portland (21-27), and it was achieved without Carmelo Anthony, who chose to stay at home because he said he was too emotional to play in the game at Staples.

Lillard came within a rebound of his second straight triple-double, garnering 10 assists and nine rebounds. He was 17 for 30 from the field and 7 for 12 from 3-point range.

Whiteside collected 30 points, 12 rebounds and five blocked shots, making 13 of 14 shots from the field.

Anthony Davis was sensational for the NBA Western Conference-leading Lakers (36-11), going for 37 points, 15 rebounds, six assists and five blocks. LeBron James finished with 22 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. Portland took a 38-36 lead after one quarter, with Lillard contributing 13 points, four rebounds and four assists. Davis was a man possessed for the Lakers, collecting 18 points, five rebounds, three assists and three blocked shots in the quarter.

The Blazers were in front 42-38 when the Lakers used a 13-3 run to go ahead 51-45 midway through the second quarter. Portland went back in top 54-53, but the Lakers took a 62-60 edge into the half. Davis scored 20 points and Lillard 19, and Whiteside had 13 points on 6-for-6 shooting in the half.

Portland started the third quarter on a 10-3 tear to seize a 70-65 advantage. L.A. came back with a 10-2 spurt to take a 75-72 lead.

Lillard scored 23 points in the third quarter — sinking 6 of 7 from 3-point range — as the Blazers gained a 103-96 edge into the final period. At that point, Lillard had 42 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

Portland scored the next five points to go ahead 108-96. The Lakers responded with nine in a row to draw within 108-105. The Blazers hiked it to 117-109 with 3:45 to go. L.A. got no closer than four points the rest of the way.

The Blazers will play host to Utah at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Moda Center.


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