LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Kobe Bryant started where he left off as the reigning MVP with 23 points and 11 rebounds, while Greg Oden began where he left off -- injured and out of action -- as the Lakers downed Portland, 96-76, in the regular-season opener for both squads.
Pau Gasol contributed 15 points and seven rebounds and Trevor Ariza added 11 points off the bench for the Lakers. Andrew Bynum was back in regular-season action with eight points, which was equaled by his frontcourt mate Vladimir Radmanovic.
Travis Outlaw led Portland with 18 points and Rudy Fernandez donated 16 points off the bench. Brandon Roy scored 14 points and Joel Przybilla collected 11 rebounds off the bench.
But all stats were overshadowed by Oden's regular-season debut and subsequent injury. Oden, the first overall draft pick in 2007, missed all of last season after right knee surgery, then sprained his right foot while attacking the glass in a battle with Bynum in the second quarter. Bynum draped himself all over the Ohio State product after he corralled an offensive rebound and prepared to go back up strong.
Oden was sent for x-rays, which came back inconclusive, and he will undergo an MRI on Wednesday.
Portland struggled from the floor in the opening quarter, and Los Angeles opened a double-digit edge. A Bryant lay-in capped an 8-0 stretch for a 15-4 lead, and Los Angeles held a 24-14 advantage after one quarter.
Gasol's layup gave the home team the first six second-quarter points for a 30-14 lead, and after Fernandez's two free throws, the Lakers embarked on a 10-0 spurt to blow the game open. Gasol and Bryant were the major players with Bryant's jumper staking the Lakers to a 46-24 lead.
The lead stood at 49-34 at the half.
Portland rallied early in the third stanza, scoring the first seven points of the period. Outlaw and LaMarcus Aldridge both drained jumpers to cap the quick spurt for a 49-41 game.
Bryant then took over, attacking the rim and scoring the game's next nine points to extend the edge back to 58-41.
Portland never truly threatened over the final 18 minutes.