Lakers power forward Pau Gasol and point guard Steve Nash trap Trail Blazers… (Don Ryan / Associated Press )
The Lakers lost their second consecutive regular-season game on Wednesday night in Portland, falling to the Trail Blazers, 116-106.
Technically, the team has dropped 12 in a row under Coach Mike Brown, including eight preseason games and the last two playoff games against the Oklahoma City Thunder in May.
The loss wasn't unexpected. The Lakers seem to never win in Portland.
As a young team, the Trail Blazers have a lot to prove over 82 games, but at this point in the season they're a bunch of hungry, athletic kids who don't know they're not the best team in the league.
Damian Lillard has a real shot to be rookie of the year. He had 23 points and 11 assists, which was a great start even with six turnovers.
The Lakers were generally strong offensively (106 points, 50% shooting from the field, 44.4% from three-point range, an impressive 26-32 from the line), but their 24 turnovers just fed the Blazers over and over.
It's hard to set up on defense against a younger, quicker team already in transition off unforced turnovers.
The Lakers still aren't close to where they need to be. Steve Nash left the game after 16 minutes with a lower leg contusion that isn't expected to be serious.
Metta World Peace, Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant all racked up fouls.
The Blazers were hitting shots all over -- in part because of the Lakers' poor defensive effort -- while parading to the line.
The Lakers did get an impressive night from Howard, who for the first time looked like the league's most dominant center.
He finished with 33 points and 14 rebounds, hitting 15 of 19 free throws.
Bryant's 30 points were efficient (10-of-20 shooting) although he was guilty of seven turnovers.
It seemed like every time World Peace touched the ball, it was an offensive foul (six turnovers total; he also fouled out).
The Lakers don't have much depth. Once Nash and World Peace were off the floor, the game was over.
Devin Ebanks made his season debut at small forward and shooting guard, getting minutes ahead of Jodie Meeks. Chris Duhon also got his first minutes as a Laker
Rookie Robert Sacre played in his first NBA game, albeit for 49 seconds.
It might take more time than expected for the Lakers to figure out how to win this season. They host the Clippers on Friday night, a difficult matchup for the struggling Lakers.