Video Credit: NBA

FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Trail Blazers – Game 20

Franchise Sports Media

Los Angeles Lakers (8-12) | Portland Trail Blazers (11-11)


The Lake Show held onto their fourth-quarter lead this time, as they got a bounce-back win over the Portland Trail Blazers 128-109 through the combined efforts of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Austin Reaves


Lakers vs Trail Blazers
Photo Credit: Mark J. Terrill/AP

Darvin Ham told reporters that Troy Brown Jr. tweaked his foot during a workout that morning and was listed as out with left foot soreness. Lonnie Walker IV was a late scratch against Portland, also due to left foot soreness. Despite LeBron James briefly leaving their last game after stepping on Tyrese Halliburton’s foot, he was available for this one.

The Lakers faced a severely shorthanded Blazers team, with Josh Hart out after turning his ankle the game before, Damian Lillard remained out, and Nassir Little was also out. Trendon Watford started in Hart’s place.

The Lakers’ starters vs. Portland were a question as Ham played coy on who would start at point guard between Patrick Beverley (coming off his three-game suspension) and Dennis Schroder. However, most likely due to the inactives, he started both. The starters were Schroder, Austin Reaves, Beverley, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis.

James was the one to get the Lakers on the board. But the Lakers looked like they were in slow motion on both ends of the floor despite Portland being on the second night of a back-to-back after playing the Clippers. The Lake Show still could not take advantage early, as Portland led 17-6.

But an 11-0 run for the Lake Show capped off with a steal, and a two-handed transition dunk by Reaves enabled them to get back into it and tie the game. The Blazers were severely shorthanded, and it began to show as their bench group struggled to get anything on offense.

The only Laker to hit a three in the first was Thomas Bryant, who shot over 40% from three in Washington. That was his first three of the season, which was just his second attempt in six games, and Wenyen Gabriel added two free throws to close the first. The Lake Show recovered from that 17-6 deficit to take a 24-22 lead.

Kendrick Nunn got the second quarter started with a dime to Bryant, who laid it up and in. Then a solid second-quarter start from James, where he defended Jerami Grant on one end and scored seven straight points on the other, putting the Lakers up 35-27.

But a quick 9-4 run by Portland with back-to-back scores by Grant and Anfernee Simons cut the lead down to just three.

Justise Winslow hadn’t hit more than two threes in any game this season, but he started 3 for three against the Lakers. The Lake Show had a similar game when Detroit’s Killian Hayes started hot from three before cooling back to his average.

Schroder crossed his defender and scored off a little floater inside. Jusuf Nurkic countered with a tough finish inside. Reaves scored a second-chance bucket with a short fadeaway off the glass after snagging the offensive rebound, then Russell Westbrook blew past his defender and scored a tough layup over Nurkic.

Watford scored inside off an offensive rebound after Wenyen Gabriel failed to box him out. Schroder came off a screen and passed it through his legs to Bryant, who scored a floater over Nurkic.

Davis and Bryant played simultaneously with two minutes left in the half. Bryant was impactful off the bench, and on the second offensive trip, Davis went right over the top of Grant to score.

James passed out of his shot down to Bryant, sprinted inside to get the ball back, and dunked it through. Then the Lake Show got a buzzer-beating three from Westbrook just seconds after a put-back dunk from Portland’s rookie Shaedon Sharpe.


At halftime, the score read Lakers 66, Blazers 62. James (17 points), Reaves (14 points), and Davis (11 points) carried the Laker offense. The Lakers had 15 assists to four turnovers. Portland hung around despite missing Lillard.


Lakers vs Trail Blazers
Photo Credit: Mark J. Terrill/AP

Beverley got the second half started with a floater inside, which was his first field goal of the game. Reaves kept cooking with a three on the right wing after receiving a no-look pass from James. Reaves then faked his defender out to score the baseline layup.

It was a fantastic offensive night for Reaves, who was now 6 of 8 from the field, plus 6 of 8 at the free throw line to lead the Lake Show with 19 points. Beverley added a transition three to put them up 78-68 early in the third quarter, forcing Portland to call a timeout.

Coming out of the timeout, Beverley tried to lob it off the glass to James, but he missed the layup and was able to put it back in for two. James made up for the botched lob with a three to push their scoring run to 10-0.

After a near turnover by Max Christie in transition, Westbrook was able to save it, and he dished it off to Bryant, who got the and-1. The Lakers now led in bench points 23-9. The Lake Show went up by 15 (their largest lead of the night at this point) after Gabriel scored inside.

To end the third, Westbrook did it again as he beat the buzzer with a three from just underneath the halfcourt line. Seconds later, a fan drained the MGM Big Shot Jackpot from half-court to win $25,000. Back-to-back games now with a winner. The score at the end of the third quarter was Lakers 97, Blazers 82.

James started the fourth quarter off with another shot fake and passed it inside to Bryant, who got the score. James came off a screen from Davis, and Nurkic jumped expecting the lob, but James went for the layup instead, and Nurkic fouled him for the and-1.

James threw another no-look pass to Reaves, and he made the corner three. The Lakers led 114-96 with 7:15 on the clock. Then Davis hit his first three, which was his only attempt from deep so far, and he got vocal saying, “I TOLD YOU I’D MAKE IT!”

James then spotted up for three and made it to push their lead to 19, their most significant of the game at this point. But Shaedon Sharpe made a three in response to bring it back down to 16. Schroder got a pass to go through two defenders to Davis, and he got the tough and-1 layup to fall.

Portland was then forced into an 8-second violation, and the Lake Show led 125-109 with 2:22 remaining in the game. James and Davis checked out of the game. While Damian Jones, Juan Toscano, and Matt Ryan all checked in for the first time. Christie hit a three, and that was all she wrote for this one. The final score read Lakers 128, Blazers 109.

Key Takeaways


Lakers vs Trail Blazers
Photo Credit: Luis Sinco/LA Times

James had 31 points on 6-8 from three, seven rebounds, and eight assists. Yet he’s still under 30% from three for the year. Davis had 27 points, 12 rebounds, and three blocks. Reaves had 22 points (a season-high) on 7-10 overall, five rebounds, and three assists. 

Reaves’ last nine games include 15.7 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 2.8 APG, 61.6% FG, 46.4% 3PT, and 92.7% FT. It’s also worth noting that Beverley was the only Laker in the negative for plus/minus.

Grant led the way for Portland with 27 points, four rebounds, and five assists. Simons chipped in 22 points, four rebounds, and eight assists. Winslow had 21 points on 9-11 overall and 3-3 from three.

Ham on going back to Milwaukee for the first time, “Hopefully, I don’t cry like a baby. It’s 50/50 right now.” Ham also told reporters that Walker IV and Brown Jr. would be re-evaluated in the morning for their foot soreness.

James told reporters after the game, “The difference between tonight and last game is we got into our sets offensively. We got some great shots.”

The Lakers improved to 8-12. They’ve won six of their past eight games. Now they head out on a six-game road trip with a game at Milwaukee up next on Friday.

The Lakers also waived Matt Ryan shortly after the game, sources told The Athletic and Stadium. Ryan shot 38.2% from three, including a clutch shot in a win over the Pelicans in November. The move opens up a roster spot for the Lakers ahead of the Dec. 15 trade date.


The Lakers will now begin their six-game road trip with a game in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to take on the Milwaukee Bucks. They’ll face off Friday, December 2nd, at 4:30 p.m. PT at the Fiserv Forum. The game will be available on Bally Sports North, Bally Sports Wisconsin, ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN2, and Spectrum SportsNet.

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– Jake Ideguchi-Furukawa – Franchise Sports Media

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