To say the Portland Trailblazers have had the Los Angeles Lakers’ number in recent years would be an understatement. On Tuesday, they reminded everyone of that fact.
Holding LA to just 30 points in the second-half, the Blazers won their 10th-straight game over the Lakers, 108-87.
This one hurts
Whether you consider the Lakers a playoff team or not, the eight seed was in their grasp and a win tonight would have made it a very real possibility.
However, Portland looked everything like the team that they were last season, specifically in the second half.
I know it’s January and I know there’s half the season remaining, but this loss felt like a lot more than just one loss. The Lakers have plenty of time to potentially creep back into the playoff hunt, but this one felt like a lot more than just one loss.
Damian Lillard played like the All-Star he is
The turning point tonight, at least in my opinion, was when Damian Lillard and D’Angelo Russell exchanged words in the third quarter.
From that point, Lillard took over the game and the Lakers had no replies. Even open shots weren’t falling for the purple and gold while Lillard was knocking down seemingly every shot he took.
It’s a reoccurring theme for the Lakers in that they don’t have a guy who can take over parts of the game. Yet. One of their young guys might turn into that, but tonight was another reminder of how far the Lakers still have to go.
Stop worrying about the playoffs
Listen, it was fun to talk about the playoffs as a real possibility. I called this team a playoff team following their 10-10 start and contended that they were one even despite their dismal December.
However, it feels like any time this team gets close to the playoff discussion, they stumble. Instead of focusing on playoffs or no playoffs, focus on the development on the team. Focus on Ingram’s improved play, Russell’s silky passes and Randle’s domination down low.
If the playoffs come as a result of it, so be it. It’s certainly not a bad consolation prize. But it should not be the top priority or concern of the fanbase going forward.