Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge (12) throws a pass to Steve Blake (2) as the Los Angeles Lakers’ Derek Fisher attempts to break up the play during Tuesday’s game. - AP

Lead becomes loss yet again for Blazers

LOS ANGELES — Kobe Bryant scored 11 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter and the Los Angeles Lakers held the Trail Blazers to 36 percent field goal shooting, beating Portland 96-83 Tuesday night for their ninth straight victory.

Second-year backup point guard Jordan Farmar tied a career high with 21 points for the Lakers, who lead the Western Conference by one game over San Antonio and Phoenix and are 40-17, just two wins behind last season's total with 25 games to play. Bryant added nine rebounds and seven assists, and Pau Gasol had 15 points and 10 rebounds.

LaMarcus Aldridge led Portland with 24 points and Joel Pryzbilla tied a season high with 16 rebounds.

The Trail Blazers converted their first 21 free throws before Martell Webster missed with 1:33 remaining. But the undermanned Blazers shot under 40 percent from the field for the 10th time this season and the sixth time in their last 16 games. Coach Nate McMillan was ejected with 3:05 to play after arguing about a foul.

The Blazers have lost eight of their last nine and 15 of 22, following a 17-1 surge. As a result, they are only one game over .500 (29-28) in the tightly bunched West, where just six games separate the top nine teams. Portland is in 10th place, 41/2; games behind Denver and 51/2; behind Golden State for the eighth and final seed.

Travis Outlaw, who led the Blazers in scoring in each of their previous four games while averaging 23 points, had 18 against the Lakers in his first start of the season. Jarrett Jack, who tied a career-high with 30 points a year ago against the Lakers in Los Angeles, had four points in 22 minutes off the bench.

All-Star forward Brandon Roy, who aggravated a sprained right ankle in the third quarter of Sunday's 112-102 loss against Boston, was back in Portland getting an MRI exam. James Jones, whose 49.3 percentage from 3-point range is second best in the league, is about a week away from returning from a sore left knee.

The Lakers erased a 15-point first-quarter deficit and took a 67-65 lead into the fourth on Ronny Turiaf's 3-point play. They pulled away with a 14-2 run capped by Farmar, whose 3-pointer and layup gave them an 81-71 lead with 5:54 left.

Portland got as close as 84-79, but the Lakers closed it out with a 12-4 spurt.

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