The joy of seeing the Lakers in the playoffs for the first time in seven years has quickly dissipated as the team dropped game one to the Trail Blazers. The final was 100-93, in a game where the Trail Blazers led by 16 early in the game only for the Lakers to roar back before halftime. Lillard fell into a lull in the middle of the game, erupting in the fourth quarter to lead his team to a win with 34 points.
Lakers mistakes lead to Trail Blazers threes late in the game
The Lakers were tied with the Trail Blazers at 89 with 3:50 left in the game, and from there, things went downhill quickly.
Damian Lillard, Carmelo Anthony, and Gary Trent Jr. then all hit threes sequentially over the next two minutes, resulting in a 98-93 deficit for the Lakers with 1:50 left. They never really put up a fight to get back into the game following that moment. The Lakers definitely did as much as they could as a team to throw away this game, but they were still so close at the end that the waning moments really hurt as the Lakers will try to come back from a 1-0 deficit to start the series on Thursday.
LeBron James has a historic night
Tonight was LeBron James’ first playoff game in the purple-and-gold, and he did not disappoint. Even with a somewhat inefficient shooting night, he was still the most dominant offensive player for many parts of the night. As was the story all season, he was an amazing facilitator leading to his personal playoff record with 16 assists. He added 23 points and 17 rebounds to score the first triple-double in a Lakers playoff debut since a certain, decent player named Magic Johnson. Even more impressively, LeBron became the first player in NBA history to post 20+ points, 15+ rebounds, and 15+ assists in the playoffs. I don’t really have much else to say here other than this.
It’s nice to have LeBron James on the Lakers.
Anthony Davis takes advantage of the whistles
The first half seemed to take forever, as the referees called foul, after foul, after foul. It led to 32 total fouls in the first half with both teams having 16 each. It led to many players getting in foul trouble late in the game, most notably Jusuf Nurkić and Carmelo Anthony. Anthony Davis took advantage of this, getting to the line 17 times in the game. He sadly missed two free throws deep into the 4th quarter, with his box score being saved by the 12 made free throws as he had a terrible night from the field, only making 8-of-24 attempts. Even with 28 points at the end, Davis has to dominate more as the Lakers have an immense frontcourt advantage that they have to win.
The Lakers continue to struggle from beyond the arc
Guess what? The Lakers struggled from the three-point line again in the bubble. They had an especially poor night, only making five (FIVE!!!) out of 32 attempted three-pointers. The poor effort was led by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who missed all five of his three-point attempts while missing his four other field-goal attempts ending with only one point. This just can’t happen, as we’ve illustrated before, and the Lakers will need to figure out what the problem is quickly before they are bounced out of the first round.
The Lakers and Trail Blazers will face off again for Game 2 on Thursday. The game will tip-off at 6:00 p.m. PST on ESPN and Spectrum SportsNet. We’ll see you then.