Here’s a script that seemed all-too-familiar: the Lakers fought with the Blazers for much of the first half before collapsing in the second half.
Tonight, the Lakers traveled to Portland and followed nearly the same storyline that has followed them all season as they fell behind big before fighting back behind Earth Scorching Lou Williams.
Unfortunately, a lack of defense and terrible offense down the stretch spelled doom for LA as they fell 105-98.
Lou Williams is still a fire-breathing monster
When all else looked lost tonight, the Lakers turned to Lou Williams. During a span early in the fourth quarter, Williams hit three-straight threes to pull the Lakers back into the game.
Williams finished with 31 points on 20 shots and was overall efficient, but his hero ball late certainly was a detriment to the Lakers down the stretch.
Between lousy defense and bad shot selection, the end of the game was the worst of Lou.
Ivica Zubac is a fire-blocking monster
The other big takeaway from the night was the play of Ivica Zubac, who finished with his second-career double-double. Zubac took most of Tarik Black’s minutes, playing 28 minutes on the night compared to Black’s eight. And while Black is a hard person to replace in the rotation, Zubac filled in admirably with 12 points, 10 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 assists and a team-best +13.
If we learned anything more long-term tonight, it’s that Black is expendable and Zubac needs 20-25 minutes per night, minimum.
The tank rolls on
Like it or not, the Lakers are much closer to the number one spot in the lottery than the eight seed. It might be time to start investigating mock drafts and looking at draft prospects because the Lakers are likely going to make deals and begin playing young players the closer we move to the end of the season.