Lakers suffer 2nd straight loss

TALENT-LADEN Los Angeles Lakers lost for the second time in two nights after falling to the Portland Trailblazers, 116-106, on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila).

To make matters worse, two-time MVP Steve Nash, brought in by the Lakers in the offseason along with six-time All-Star Dwight Howard, was injured late in the first half against Portland.

”We’ve got to learn how to play together,” said Howard, who had 33 points and 14 rebounds in the loss to Portland. ”You’ve got to be good before you can be great.”

Nicolas Batum had 26 points and Damian Lillard, the sixth overall pick in the June draft, had 22 points and 11 assists in his NBA debut.

Kobe Bryant had 30 points and Howard’s output Wednesday night was a vast improvement over his debut the night before against the Mavs, when he had 19 points and 10 rebounds but made just three of 14 free throws before fouling out. The Lakers lost that one 99-91.

Nash collided with Lillard and limped to the locker room. Although the team initially reported he was fine, Nash struggled when he returned for the second half and left the game for good a short time later.

The team said he had a bruised left leg. He said after the game he hopes to play Friday when the Lakers host the Clippers. Noli Cruz


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