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Lakers defeat Trail Blazers in thrilling fashion, 107-106

Wesley Johnson dunked an in-bounds pass from Kent Bazemore with 6.9 seconds left on the clock, stealing a 107-106 win in Portland against the Blazers.

After exploding with a 33-point first quarter, the Lakers saw their lead gradually shrink until the Blazers took their first lead since of the second half with 34.6 seconds left on a Damian Lillard free throw.

The Blazers had one final chance to score but the Lakers suffocated Lillard defensively and his three-point attempt didn't fall.

The Lakers win their second-straight game, improving to 21-39 on the season.

Pau Gasol led all scorers with 22 points along with nine rebounds and five assists. Jodie Meeks scored 21 while Johnson and Bazemore both scored 14.

The Lakers shot 45.7% from the field, but turned the ball over 17 times.  After an 8-1 offensive rebounding advantage through the first quarter, the Lakers gave up a 19-4 advantage on the offensive glass through the final three periods.

LaMarcus Aldridge led the Blazers with 21 points. Lillard had 20 points with five assists. Robin Lopez had a big night with 19 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks. Nicolas Batum scored 17 with 15 rebounds and five assists.

Kendall Marshall led the Lakers with 11 assists while scoring seven points. Jordan Farmar contributed nine points and six assists.

The Blazers shot 44.8% from the field with 20 turnovers. 

The Lakers went small against the Blazers. Jordan Hill and Chris Kaman didn't play in favor of Robert Sacre and Ryan Kelly.

Xavier Henry made his first appearance since late December, coming back from a knee injury.

The Lakers return home to host the New Orleans Pelicans (23-37) on Tuesday. The Blazers (41-19) are off until Wednesday when they host the Atlanta Hawks (26-32).

Lakers 87, Trail Blazers 84 (end of third quarter)

The Lakers still lead after three quarters, but barely.

Portland out-scored the Lakers, 28-24, in the third quarter led by LaMarcus Aldridge with 19 points. Dorell Wright (eight points), C.J. McCollum (six) and Mo Williams (four) gave the Blazers a boost off the bench.

The Lakers were led by Pau Gasol with 22 points. Kendall Marshall dished 11 assists with seven points, but the Lakers turned the ball over 10 times in the third quarter.

Both Nicolas Batum (12 points and 11 rebounds) and Robin Lopez (17 and 12) had double-doubles.

The Lakers shot 47.9% from the field. The Blazers shot 45.9%, along with 13 turnovers.  Portland made up for the Lakers' early 8-1 advantage on the offensive glass, finishing the third up 12-10 for the game.

Lakers 63, Trail Blazers 56 (halftime)

The Lakers held onto their lead in Portland, although the Trail Blazers managed to whittle it down to seven.

LaMarcus Aldridge led all scorers with 17 points. Robin Lopez was one rebound away from a double-double with 13 points and nine boards.

Portland shot 51.1% from the field, but it still trailed the Lakers 63-56 heading into the break.

Jodie Meeks scored 13 for the Lakers. Pau Gasol contributed 12 while Wesley Johnson had 10.

The Lakers shot 44.8% from the field and 45.5% from three-point range (5-11). Portland turned the ball over nine times while the Lakers had just four miscues.

Lakers 33, Trail Blazers 20 (end of first quarter)

The Lakers gave the Trail Blazers all they could handle through the first quarter in Portland, pulling ahead by 13 after 12 minutes.

Pau Gasol and Wesley Johnson led the Lakers with eight points each. Jodie Meeks and Kent Bazemore both chipped in six as the Lakers shot 44.1% from the field and 50% from three-point range (3-6).

The Blazers were led by LaMarcus Aldridge with eight, but they struggled with eight turnovers to help fuel the Lakers' offense.

Portland shot 47.1% from the field, getting out-rebounded by the Lakers by seven (17-10) -- the difference entirely on the offensive glass (8-1).

Pregame

The Lakers (12-39) will look to establish a two-game winning streak Monday night when they visit the Portland Trail Blazers (41-18).

All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge returned Saturday from a groin injury that had him sidelined since Feb. 12.

The Lakers expect to have Xavier Henry back in the lineup, but they are still without Nick Young (knee), Kobe Bryant (knee) and Steve Nash (nerve root irritation).

For a more in-depth breakdown, check out Preview: Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers

ALSO:

Xavier Henry makes second D-Fenders appearance, has 19 points in loss

Lakers Week 18 in review

Preview: Lakers Week 19 predictions

Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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