Trail Blazers 109, Lakers 108
INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) _ The last time James Robinson was in a position to win a game with a buzzer-beater, he shot an air ball. This time, it was nothing but net.
Robinson capped a 17-point effort off the bench with a desperation 3-pointer from the left corner, giving the Portland Trail Blazers a 109-108 victory Tuesday night and ending the the Los Angeles Lakers’ four-game winning streak.
``I always think my shots are going in,″ Robinson said. ``I just followed through and I was fortunate that it went in. The play was designed to get Cliff (Robinson) open. My man went to Cliff and I went to the corner. It really felt good to be open. I had to redeem myself from the last time.″
After Cedric Ceballos tied the score at 106 on a pair of free throws with 1:25 left, the Lakers maintained possession with a pair of critical offensive rebounds by Corie Blount and Anthony Peeler. The second one led to a 10-foot jumper in the lane by Nick Van Exel, which gave the Lakers a 108-106 lead with 8.8 seconds to go.
But Aaron McKie inbounded from in front of the midcourt line with 2.1 seconds left and the ball went to James Robinson, who was wide-open on the final shot _ his third 3-pointer of the game and 16th in 33 attempts this season.
``We knew somebody was going to run from the paint and our coverage was to switch and go for the shooter,″ Lakers center Vlade Divac said. ``Everything was done right by our defense, but he just knocked down the shot. It was just tough luck.″
Ceballos scored 38 points and Divac had 18 points and 16 rebounds for the Lakers, who lost at home for the first time in five tries. The turned an 11-point third-quarter deficit into a six-point lead with seven minutes to play.
``This was a great win,″ said Rod Strickland, who led the Trail Blazers with 28 points and 10 assists. ``It gives us confidence to know that we can win games at the end. Hopefully, we can carry this through until the end of the season.″
The game was marred by a steady stream of replacement referee-baiting. It resulted in technical fouls to Ceballos, Divac, Van Exel and coach Del Harris of the Lakers. Clifford Robinson and Chris Dudley of Portland also were given technicals, as was Trail Blazers coach P.J. Carlesimo.
Following a halftime ceremony honoring former captain Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for his induction into the Hall of Fame last May, the Lakers recovered from a lackluster first half and took their first lead at 71-70 on Van Exel’s layup with 5:36 left in the third quarter. The basket capped an 18-6 spurt powered by nine points from the Lakers’ second-year point guard.
The lead see-sawed 11 times before a pair of layups by Divac and a baseline jumper by George Lynch put Los Angeles ahead 100-94 with 6:58 to play. Clifford Robinson tied it at 100 on a 3-pointer 67 seconds later and put the Blazers ahead 105-102 on another 3-pointer with 2:52 left.
Portland got balanced scoring in the first half from Strickland, James Robinson and Harvey Grant to take a 60-53 advantage and offset 22 points by Ceballos.
Los Angeles twice came close to taking the lead in the second quarter, after narrowing a 10-point deficit to 40-39 with a 17-8 run.
Portland led 25-22 through one quarter as the Lakers shot 9-for-24 and committed nine of their 22 turnovers.