Video Credit: NBA

FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs. Trail Blazers – Game 67


In a game that came down to the wire, the Los Angeles Lakers ultimately would lose to the Portland Trail Blazers, 106-101, and fall to the seventh seed. With the win, the Trail Blazers now own the tiebreaker between the two teams if it comes down to that.


Lakers vs Trail Blazers
Photo Credit: BlazersEdge

Alex Caruso started despite a foot contusion and knocked down the Lakers’ first 3-pointer of the night, but the Trail Blazers went up 7-3 early. Anthony Davis was aggressive getting to the basket and drawing free throws, but Portland’s outside shooting gave them an eight-point lead.

Los Angeles went nearly minutes without a field goal as they turned the basketball over, but Wesley Matthews ended the drought with a three in transition. Despite getting a few consecutive stops, the Lakers gave up several outside shots to Portland and found themselves looking at a 34-22 deficit at the end of one quarter.

The Lakers were able to cut the Blazers lead in half at the top of the second as they could get into the paint and finish at the rim. Portland could go back up by 10 thanks to their guards, but Los Angeles answered to keep the game within striking distance.


Anthony Davis finally started to show signs of life, scoring in the post and disrupting shots defensively but the Blazers continued to take advantage of their backcourt to remain comfortably ahead. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Marc Gasol came to life offensively down the stretch and the Lakers found themselves only down 59-55 at halftime.


Lakers vs Trail Blazers
Photo Credit: L.A. Times

A big reason for the Lakers run to end the half was their ability to take care of the ball better. After turning it over eight times in the first quarter, they had zero in the second.

The Lakers offense found its rhythm atop the third as the players collectively found their jumpers, including a Davis 3-pointer that gave them the lead. Davis continued to torch the Portland defense as he rose over the top and saw shots go down.

L.A. then saw itself struggling to score again, which allowed Portland to retake control with about four minutes left in the period. Damian Lillard was able to snake knife into the lane for layups, and the Lakers went into the fourth trailing 82-78.

It looked like the contest would slip away from the Purple and Gold as they came out a bit flat, but they battled back to keep the score close. Defensively they turned things up a notch as they forced Portland into several contested shots but could not make up ground on the other end.

The Lakers looked like they were on their way to capturing the momentum with a mid-quarter, but Lillard cut things off with clutch baskets to give the Blazers a seven-point lead. Davis led the way on both ends down the stretch, but it was not enough, and Los Angeles would fall to Portland.


Lakers News and Notes:


Lakers vs Clippers
Photo Credit: Native News Post

The Los Angeles Lakers fought as hard as they could while missing numerous important players against the Portland Trail Blazers, but unfortunately, it wasn’t quite enough. Despite the best efforts of Anthony Davis, the Lakers came up just short in Portland, falling 106-101 to the Blazers.

Davis was outstanding on the night, giving the Lakers everything he had. The big man finished with 36 points, 12 rebounds, and five assists while hitting 12-of-23 from the field, including 2-of-3 from 3-point range.

The effort was undoubtedly Davis’ best since returning from an Achilles injury just a couple of weeks ago, and the big man believed acknowledged that he is feeling more like his normal self.

“I feel good. Put me on the floor, I’m going to try to do as much as I can to help the team win,” Davis said after the loss. “I feel like I’m getting my legs back under me, getting a rhythm. I think the minutes might get extended. … I technically didn’t play last night, so I had a bit more juice.”

When a player misses the amount of time that Davis did, it takes some time to get back into rhythm. There is no amount of practice time that can make up for missing real game experience and even someone of Davis’ caliber needs some time to return to the level of play that the world is used to seeing.

Thanks to the efforts of Davis among other Lakers, the team had a chance to steal the victory over the Trail Blazers but came up short. The Lakers were the victims of a couple of unfortunate calls in the fourth quarter that should have gone their way, but Davis would not blame the refs.

“Plays like that happen in a game. It can dictate the game for sure, but like I said, those plays didn’t cost us the game. We had a lot of other players throughout the course of the game that we broke down on both ends of the floor.

“For sure, those plays can cost us the game, but it’s the other things that we can control. The mental mistakes that we’ve done and the breakdowns that we had on both ends of the floor that can really cost you the game.”


Lakers vs Wizards
Photo Credit: L.A. Times

The Lakers loss officially dropped the Lakers to seventh in the Western Conference and gave Portland the tiebreaker in the season series. This makes it much more likely that they will have to go through the play-in tournament to make the playoff field.

Unfortunately, because of the endless amount of injuries the Lakers have dealt with this season, something that seemed like a long shot has become a reality. But if Davis is back at his normal level and the Lakers can get LeBron James back in rhythm, the Purple and Gold will be a team that no higher seed wants to see in the first round of the playoffs.

“This is the best game since he’s returned, for sure,” Vogel said. “He’s getting a little bit stronger each game, which is a very encouraging sign. I still think he has still a ways to go until he’s back to really having his rhythm and timing and legs under him. But he had a terrific performance tonight, just as a group we fell short.”

If the Lakers have James and Dennis Schroder back in the lineup, his role changes, and maybe his numbers aren’t quite as amazing as they were in this game. But his impact, especially defensively, is exactly what the team needs and raises their ceiling significantly.


The Lakers come back home to Staples Center to take on the the Suns Sunday night. The tip-off is at 7:00 pm and the game can be seen on & Spectrum SportsNet.

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-Joe Arrigo – Franchise Sports Media

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