FSM Essential Playoff Recap: Lakers vs Trail Blazers  – Game 1


Los Angeles Lakers (0-1)  |  Portland Trail Blazers (1-0)


The Lakers finished the first half of this close contest trailing 57-56.


Photo Credit: LA Times

The first quarter was a complete disaster for the Lakers. The Trail Blazers had a 16-point lead at one point, and the Lakers were 3 for 16 from the floor at one point as well. The Blazers kept passing the ball, and the Lakers’ defense struggled to keep up as Portland’s points were evenly spread out until Damian Lillard started taking over. They ended up finishing the first half with only ten assists due to the Lakers catching on during the second quarter.

In the second quarter, the Lakers picked up some steam. LeBron James started to drive to the basket, and their defense started contesting more shots, which ended with the Trail Blazers missing most of them. The Lakers began to rally with eight minutes left in the second quarter. When down 40-30 Danny Green hit a three, then Markeiff Morris hit another. After that, Dwight Howard got a transition dunk, which made the score 40-38. 


Outside of Lillard, the Trail Blazers continued to struggle shooting in the second quarter.


Lillard finished the half shooting 6 for 11 with 23 points. He was also 3 for seven from beyond the arc. CJ McCollum shot 2 for 8 for the half, and Jusuf Nurkic, who had a hot start, ended the half struggling, shooting 3 for 9.


The Laker’s stars of the half were James and Davis. James finished the first half shooting 4 for 10 with ten assists and six rebounds.


Davis struggled in the first quarter, shooting 1 for nine from the floor at one point. After his second-quarter heat up, he finished the half with 21 points, shooting 5 for 14 from the floor with seven rebounds. Even though Davis’ shooting percentage was low for the night, as 11 of his points came from the free-throw line, if he were not aggressively fouled so much, he would have had a better percentage. 

There were no Lakers players that really stood out since all evenly spread out their shots and struggled collectively in the first quarter. The only player whose struggles were worth noting was Danny Green, who finished the half shooting 2 for seven from the floor. The Lakers primarily struggled from beyond the arc, shooting 2 for 14 as a team for the half. 


           The Lakers ended up struggling at the end of the game, losing 100-93.


The Lakers couldn’t stop Lillard as the game continued. He finished the game with 34 points, 9 for 21 from the floor and 6 for 13 from three. Nurkic and Carmelo Anthony had five fouls, but that did not stop the Blazers from continuing their dominant scoring because of Lillard. Nurkic shot 36.4 percent from the floor, and McCollum finished shooting 40 percent due to his fourth-quarter performance. 


The Trail Blazers did not shoot great from the floor as a team, the Lakers just shot a lot worse.


Photo Credit: The Comeback

Their three-point struggles from the first half continued as they finished 5 for 32 from three, which is 15.6 percent. Green only shot one more three than he did at halftime but missed it, Kyle Kuzma was 1 for five from three, Davis was 0 for 5, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was 0 for 5, James was 1 for 5, and Alex Caruso was 0 for 3. They all struggled, but the worst of the struggles had to be Caldwell-Pope. He was 0 for nine from the floor. 

Davis and James led the Lakers in points, James with 23 and Davis with 28. Davis had a good game, actually. Despite shooting 33.3 percent from the floor, he played good defense and grabbed 11 rebounds. James finished with 17 rebounds and 15 assists, but it was not enough to beat the Portland on this night. Davis and James both missed two free throws late in the fourth quarter, which could have brought them back in the game.

The Lakers were caught off guard from Lillard’s performance in this game, and I don’t understand why. He’s been the best player in the bubble, hands down. If they continue to shoot like this, they will be in trouble. Their two best players, each missing both free throws late in the fourth quarter, is also unacceptable.


They will look for revenge in game two when they face the Portland Trail Blazers again on Thursday. The game tips off at 6:00 Pacific on ESPN. 

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-Kyle Randolph – Franchise Sports Media

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