It didn’t matter that it was the Rose Garden. The “M-V-P!” chant for Kobe Bryant was loud and clear.
Playing all 48 minutes in another must-win game in Portland Wednesday – with less than a week left in the season, they’re all must-win – Kobe dropped 47 points on the Blazers, was a perfect 18-for-18 from the foul line, and also had one of the best blocks of his career, as the Lakers beat the Trailblazers 113-106.
The Lakers moved a full game up on the Utah Jazz for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
“We’ve got no breathing room at all,” Bryant said. “I’m still on edge. We’ve got to win three more games and we’re in.”
Portland, missing the playoffs for the second straight season, has lost nine straight, the most since an 11-game skid in the 2005-06 season. Rookie Damian Lillard led the Blazers with a career-high 38 points.