Wednesday’s game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers quickly turned into a duel between Kobe Bryant and rookie Damian Lillard. After the game, Kobe had praise for the young point guard.
Bryant set a new Rose Garden record with a season-high 47 points, helping the Lakers to a firmer grasp of the number eight seed in the Western Conference. The latest victory has LA a game up over the Jazz in the race for postseason action.
Kobe dropped 17 points in the first quarter, but Portland’s Damian Lillard matched him – point for point. Lillard was scorching hot, also adding seven assists to his 17 first quarter points.
Eventually, Bryant got the best out of the soon-to-be rookie of the year. Lillard “only” scored a career-high 38 points, as the Trail Blazers dropped their ninth straight game.
After the game, Kobe had this to say about Lillard:
“Lillard came out and just started torching us. I figured I’d try to keep the pace. It was like a marathon run, where a runner takes off and the guy behind him doesn’t really want to chase him, but has to just to keep pace. He’s fantastic, really fantastic. I told him he was a bad boy. He was out there cooking with gasoline tonight.”
Bryant also went on his Twitter, where he showed just how big of an impression Lillard left on him:
Other than the two players who stole the show, the game featured a couple more terrific performances. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 17 and grabbed 16 rebounds, while Pau Gasol, who has been playing great as of late, recorded a stat line of 23 points, nine assists and seven rebounds.