LOS ANGELES CA - NOVEMBER 07: Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers smiles as he leaves the court during a 121-96 win over the Portland Trail Blazers at the Staples Center on November 7 2010 in Los Angeles California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and/or using this photograph User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Lakers Stay Undefeated With Blowout Of Blazers

The Lakers have started 7-0 or better for just the fifth time in franchise history.

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Lakers' Fast Start Has Been Fueled By Fast Starts

The Los Angeles Lakers are undefeated in the early going this season, and their fast start has been fueled by a series of fast starts. After getting outscored in both the first and second quarters on ring night against Houston, the Lakers have outscored their opponents in 10 of 12 quarters before halftime. Their 7-0 start has been helped by strong first halves, specifically strong opening quarters. Here are the Lakers' leads (or deficit, in very few cases) after each quarter in the first half this season:

Opponent After 1st Qtr At Half
Hou (7) (11)
@Phx +1 +7
GS +20 +18
Mem +11 +27
@Sac +2 +9
Tor +13 (3)
Por +13 +22

The Lakers have an average lead of seven and a half points after the first quarter, which accounts for over half of their point differential this season (which, like their record, is tops in the NBA). Part of this first quarter dominance can be attributed to their defense, writes C.A. Clark of Silver Screen and Roll:

So where am I seeing this "elite" defense? In the first quarter. The Lakers play far better D in the first quarter than in any other quarter of the game, and I don't think it's a coincidence.

Throwing out opening night against Houston (for obvious focus issues attributed to ring night), the Lakers have held four out of their six opponents at or below a point per possession in the first quarter, and three of the four well below 1.00 PPP. (FYI, the only difference between PPP discussed here and Offensive Rating" used earlier is a couple decimal places. If you want to stick with one system, just multiply PPP by 100.) The two games that don't fit in were both of the Lakers' road games, against the Suns and Kings, and in both cases the Lakers used a strong second quarter of defense to take control of the game.

The Lakers' next game is Tuesday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves, and they have a good shot to finish this week at 10-0. If they do happen to win their first three games, look to the first quarter as a big reason why.

For more Lakers news, analysis, and information, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll.

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Pau Gasol's Triple Double Leads Lakers Over Blazers, 121-96

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Pau Gasol recorded his fourth career triple-double with 20 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists, leading the Los Angeles Lakers to a 121-96 win over the Portland Trail Blazers. Lamar Odom added 21 points and 12 boards for the Lakers, who improved to 7-0 to start the season. They are one of two NBA teams still undefeated, along with the New Orleans Hornets.

"We had more energy tonight," Gasol said. "We're taking it game-by-game. We're not thinking about a record. I'm happy we're winning, otherwise the triple- double is meaningless."

The Lakers shot 54.9 percent and had seven players -- including all five starters -- finish in double-figures.

Andre Miller had 20 points to pace the Blazers, who were coming off Saturday's win against Toronto. Nicolas Batum had 17 points in the setback.

"They're playing great basketball," Blazers head coach Nate McMillan said of the Lakers. "They're leading the league in scoring. They came out and jumped on us. We had heavy legs tonight."

Los Angeles took control in the first quarter, when it made 11-of-20 shots. Many of them came late in the period, during a 14-2 run. Kobe Bryant had six points during the stretch, while Gasol scored the final four to make it a 27-12 game.

Armon Johnson ended the quarter with a basket for Portland, but Los Angeles continued to stretch its lead in the second.

Early in the quarter, Matt Barnes sank two consecutive layups and Shannon Brown followed with a bucket for a 35-16 advantage. The Lakers continued to play in front and Gasol's dunk in the final minute made it a 58-36 game at the break.

Los Angeles emerged from a back-and-forth third quarter with an 89-64 lead, and held a game-high advantage of 29 points several times in the fourth. A Barnes layup had the Lakers ahead 104-75 with 5:54 to play, and they cruised from there.

Brown and Barnes had 15 and 13 points, respectively, off the bench for LA. Bryant and Derek Fisher finished with 12 points each, while Ron Artest added 11...Rudy Fernandez (13) and Johnson (12) were double-digit scorers off the bench for Portland...The Lakers held a 49-25 rebounding edge...Portland made 42.7 percent of its shots and made 26-of-31 free throws.

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Lakers Vs. Blazers: Probable Starting Lineups & Injury Report

The Los Angeles Lakers look to stay unbeaten tonight as they host the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center in Los Angeles. The Lakers have beaten the Blazers 14 of their last 17 games at Staples Center, although Portland won their last game in Los Angeles, a 91-88 win on April 11. Here is a look at the probable starting lineups and injury reports for both teams:

Blazers

Point Guard: Andre Miller (ranks seventh the NBA with 8.7 assists per game)

Shooting Guard: Brandon Roy (averaging 40.0 minutes this season, tied for seventh in the NBA)

Small Forward: Nicolas Batum

Power Forward: LaMarcus Aldridge

Center: Marcus Camby

Greg Oden (left knee), Joel Przybilla (right knee), and Elliot Williams (right knee) are all out for tonight. Center Fabricio Oberto retired suddenly on Thursday due to heart problems, and as a result Portland signed Sean Marks to help a depleted front line.

Lakers

Point Guard: Derek Fisher

Shooting Guard: Kobe Bryant

Small Forward: Ron Artest

Power Forward: Lamar Odom

Center: Pau Gasol

Backup big man Theo Ratliff (sore left knee) and forward Luke Walton (strained right hamstring) are listed as probable. Walton played six minutes Friday night against Toronto in his first game of the season. Rookie guard Devin Ebanks was inactive for that game.

Tonight's 6:30 p.m. PDT tipoff will be televised by Fox Sports West.

For more Lakers news, analysis, and information, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll.

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Lakers Vs. Blazers: Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol Look To Extend Scoring Streak

Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant have been scoring machines to start the season, each among the league leaders in scoring. They both will try to accomplish something tonight that hasn't been done in the NBA in 31 seasons, as the Los Angeles Lakers host the Portland Trail Blazers tonight at Staples Center.

Both Bryant and Gasol have scored 20 points in each of the Lakers' first six games of the season:

Kobe/Pau 2010-2011 Points Scored
Opp Bryant Gasol
Hou 27 29
at Pho 25 21
GS 20 26
Mem 23 21
at Sac 30 22
Tor 23 30
Source: Basketball-Reference.com

The last pair of Lakers to start a season with 20 points in the first six games were Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain, who did so to begin the 1970-1971 season. The last pair of teammates in the NBA to start a season with seven straight games of 20 points or more were Larry Kenon and George Gervin, who did so for the Spurs at the start of the 1979-1980 season. The last Laker teammates to begin a season with seven games of 20 points or more were West and Elgin Baylor in 1961-1962.

Gasol and Bryant both rank in the top seven in the NBA in scoring:

NBA Scoring Leaders
Player Team Pts/Gm
Monta Ellis GSW 28.6
Rudy Gay Mem 27.1
Kevin Durant OkC 26.4
Dirk Nowitzki Dal 25.8
Derrick Rose Chi 25.0
Pau Gasol LAL 24.8
Kobe Bryant LAL 24.7
Carmelo Anthony      
Den 24.7

Bryant has scored 20 or more points in his last 20 games against Portland, dating back to 2004, and 33 of his last 34 games as well. Gasol has played 10 games against Portland as a Laker, and has averaged 16.1 points against the Blazers, scoring 20 points just twice.

For more Lakers news, analysis, and information, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll.

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Unbeaten Lakers Host Blazers In Battle Of Division Leaders At Staples Center

The Los Angeles Lakers look to move to 7-0 tonight as they host the Northwest-Division-leading Portland Trail Blazers tonight at Staples Center. The Lakers, who started 7-0 in their championship season two years ago, have been 7-0 four different times in franchise history:

Lakers Unbeaten Starts 7-0 Or Better
Year Record Season Result
1997-98 11-0 Lost Conference Finals
1987-88 8-0 Won NBA Championship
2001-02 7-0 Won NBA Championship
2008-09 7-0 Won NBA Championship

The Lakers have struggled against the Blazers in recent seasons, and have not won a season series from Portland since the 2004-2005 season. However, most of that damage has been done on the road. Last season, the Lakers lost the season series to the Blazers, 2-1, but also snapped a nine-game losing streak at the Rose Garden. At home, the Lakers have beaten the Blazers 14 of their last 17 battles at Staples Center.

Tonight is the second of back-to-back games for Portland, who beat Toronto at home, 97-84 last night. The Blazers are 5-2 this season, including 3-1 on the road. With the sudden retirement of center Fabricio Oberto on Thursday due to heart problems, the Blazers on Saturday signed Sean Marks, who played eight minutes in last night's game.

Tonight's 6:30 p.m. PDT game will be televised on Fox Sports West.

For more Lakers news, analysis, and information, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll.

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