The Lakers will advance to the next round of the playoffs.
That sounds great, doesn’t it?
The Lakers had a little bit more trouble than what was expected in a game against the Trail Blazers without Damian Lillard, ending up with a 131-122 win. The Lakers really extended the lead in the final three-to-four minutes, with CJ McCollum and the Trail Blazers fighting hard in tonight’s elimination game. They fought hard with their full squad in the bubble, securing the 8th seed even with a 3.5 game deficit behind the Memphis Grizzlies coming into it all.
Still, they were no match for the Lakers even though they found a way to steal Game 1. The Lakers were the better team for a sizable majority of the time, winning tonight to move to the semi-finals of the Western Conference.
Two-headed snake for the Lakers
LeBron James and Anthony Davis had arguably their best combined offensive performance tonight to lead the Lakers to a win. The two were combined for 79 points with a +35.
Davis found a way to score in seemingly every single spot on the floor, scoring 43 points inside-and-out. He muscled his way in the paint for hard-fought baskets while also sinking some spot-up threes the end with 4-of-6 from beyond the arc.
LeBron James was sort of the same way, sinking 4-of-7 (36 points) from deep while finding many ways to probe the Trail Blazers’ zone defense to get some easy baskets in the paint for himself and his teammates for 10 assists.
Carmelo Anthony and CJ McCollum torch the Lakers in the first half
The Trail Blazers had probably their best offensive half of the series against the Lakers sans Damian Lillard, going into halftime tied at 68. They were 10-of-14 from deep, bolstered by CJ McCollum and Carmelo Anthony making six of their eight three-point attempts. The two combined for 39 of the 68 points, taking advantage of a Lakers defense that came out with no intensity.
CJ McCollum continued the show in the second half, ending with 36 points on 13-of-25 from the field. He just continuously got away from the Lakers’ guards on the perimeter, showing finesse around the rim to finish around the Lakers’ bigs. Eventually, the performance was not enough for the injured Trail Blazers.
The Lakers will face either the Rockets or the Thunder in the second round. The Rockets are currently leading that series 3-2 after their huge win today, with the Lakers being able to get an in-depth look at both teams before they start the series late next week. They might even get an opportunity to scout the two teams for two games if the Thunder even the series on Monday. We’ll keep you updated on the schedule of the next series once it is available.
First Lakers playoff series win since 2012!