Kobe Bryant has no intentions of missing the playoffs, as the Los Angeles Lakers’ superstar dropped a season-high 47 points on the Portland Trail Blazers in a 113-105 win. With the win, the Lakers are now a full game ahead of the Utah Jazz for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Bryant led the Lakers in a comeback win over the New Orleans Hornets on Tuesday before his great performance on Wednesday night. The crucial win gave the Trail Blazers their ninth straight loss as they will miss the playoffs for the second straight year.
Dwight Howard finished with a double-double in the Lakers’ win with 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Pau Gasol added 23 points, seven rebounds, and nine assists. Metta World Peace returned to action much quicker than expected and appeared in his second straight game Wednesday, but only scored four points off the bench.
The Lakers were down by eight at the half, but Kobe Bryant took over early in the third quarter as the Lakers stormed back for their second straight win. Bryant was on the court for every minute of the game, and carried the Lakers to a 10-point run to start the third quarter.
Bryant battled with Portland’s Damian Lillard all night, and came out on top after hitting one big shot after another and sinking all 18 of his free throws. Lillard was also very impressive in the loss, and scored a career-high 38 points in the contest.
Portland’s nine-game skid is the team’s longest losing streak since 2005-06 when they lost 11 straight games. Outside of Lillard’s big night, LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 17 points and 16 rebounds for a double-double.
Luke Babbit was the only other Trail Blazers’ player to finish in double-figures, as he ended the game with 12 points and five rebounds off the bench. Lillard’s 38 points were overshadowed by one of the NBA’s best in Kobe Bryant, who stole the show on both sides of the court.
Bryant finished 14-for-27 from the floor on his way to 47 points and couldn’t miss down the stretch. Bryant has now scored over 40-points in a game 133 times in his NBA career. Here is a video of Bryant’s highlights from Wednesday night’s win:
The Lakers now move on to face the Golden State Warriors on Friday before a meeting with the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday. The Utah Jazz gave up eighth place to the Lakers after losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday, but look to erase their one-game deficit this upcoming weekend.
The Jazz will face the Minnesota Timberwolves twice over a four day span starting Friday, but will also need the Lakers to lose a game or two if they hope to make things interesting. Can the Los Angeles Lakers make good on Kobe Bryant’s vow to make the playoffs after a slow start to the 2013 season?
[Image via Keith Allison]