Portland pushed its lead to five with a Wes Matthews (17 points) 3-pointer. Jodie Meeks got it down to three with a couple of free throws. Damian Lillard boosted it to four with a freebie. Nick Young got it back to two with a layup. Mo Williams doubled that back to four again with a pair of his own from the free-throw line. Meeks tried a pull-up jumper the next time down, but Lillard blocked him and added two more free throws and that sealed it.
A loss is a loss, but the Lakers have made strides even from, say, that Minnesota game when they were buried in the first quarter and never came back up for air.
How it happened: The Blazers outscored the Lakers 41-24 in the third quarter, with Lillard scoring 11 of his 26 for the game in the period as Portland shot 70.8 percent (17-for-24). The Lakers gave an honest effort in the other three quarters, but that clunker in the third was too much to overcome.
What it means: The Lakers' time above .500 was short lived as they've now settled back at 9-9. While it's never a good feeling to lose at home, the Lakers shouldn't dwell on this one too much as the Blazers are a good team (14-3) and their next three games are against three teams -- Sacramento, Toronto and Phoenix -- with a combined winning percentage of .355 (16-29).