Burned Roses: Lakers Win for the First Time in Five Years at Rose Garden

It took five years and nine straight defeats, but the Los Angeles Lakers finally got a big, hairy Oregon-sized Northwest gorilla off their back.

And the best part was that Kobe Bryant was not needed.

The Lakers finally defeated the Portland Trail Blazers with a spirited 99-82 victory before 20,688 spectators at the Rose Garden. Coming off the heels of an unimpressive effort at Staples Center against the Denver Nuggets, Pau Gasol, Ron Artest, Lamar Odom, and Shannon Brown were not going to let the curse continue for another year.

The number nine seems to be a karma-laced numeral for Phil Jackson's club. The Clippers ended their nine-game losing streak to the Lakers (39-13) earlier this year, and with tonight's victory, they end a nine-game losing streak at Portland.

Artest led the Lakers with 21 points on 75 percent shooting (nine-for-12) from the field. Brown had a solid outing from the bench with 19 points. Gasol scored 13 points while Odom's ferocious defense earned him a double-double (10 points, 22 rebounds) for the night.

Derek Fisher and Jordan Farmar were similarly instrumental for LA. Fisher scored 14 points while Farmar dropped 12 on Nate McMillan's Blazers (30-23).

As a team, the Lakers were relentless on the boards, dominating with 47 rebounds to the Blazers' 30. The defense, long scrutinized for their inconsistency, put it all together by limiting the Trail Blazers' Martell Webster to two points on one-for-seven shooting.

Lamarcus Aldridge led Portland with 16 points, while Jerryd Bayless scored 13 and Andre Miller netted 14. The Blazers hurt their chances by shooting a dismal 28 percent from three-point land.

Laker center Andrew Bynum managed three points in just over nine and a half minutes of action before leaving the game due to injury.

With the win, the Lakers move four games ahead of the Denver Nuggets in the NBA Western Conference. However, ...

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