LOS ANGELES — Well, they certainly looked elite in this game.
The Los Angeles Lakers made quick work of the not-so-great Portland Trail Blazers. It was a rare wire-to-wire win as the Lake Show won, 134-110.
L.A. got off to a 20-8 after Rui Hachimura (who started for an injured Taurean Prince) made a three-point play. The Blazer vets Jerami Grant and Malcolm Brogdon were able to help Portland catch L.A., though, as they tied things up at 24. But the Lakers bench (which includes the return of Cam Reddish) were able to hold them off and separate from the Blazers. It was 36-31 at the end of the first.
The separation got larger as the bench continued to do their thing. And then, on a breakaway, D’Angelo Russell and LeBron James did a little show:
That would get a 47 in like the 1993 Dunk Contest.
Austin Reaves would make back-to-back threes, which is so good to see. The Lakers took a 67-54 halftime lead.
At times, it was frustrating that the Lakers couldn’t build a huge lead. But at the same time, the Blazers couldn’t stop the Lakers from trading baskets with them. D’Angelo Russell scored 13 points in the third as the lead boosted to 103-87 entering the fourth.
The fourth wasn’t much to talk about but we can show another LeBron highlight just for kicks:
And a fancay D’Angelo move:
So yeah, this was a really nice recovery by the Lakers after that catastrophe against the Nets on Friday night. Granted, the Blazers have not been great this season but this is the type of game that the Lakers should take care of easily. And, yes, this was what should’ve happened against Brooklyn on Friday but hopefully, this one is just an aberration more than anything.
As for the game itself, the Lakers beat Blazers in pretty much every major category. What stood out, though, was the fast break points. The Lakers smoked the Blazers in transition, 35-8. But L.A. just had so much more talent than Portland. Now let’s see how they do against a hot Clippers team, who had an incredible comeback against that same Nets team.
D’Angelo Russell led the Lakers with 34 points and 8 assists. We can’t ignore how he has been as of late. LeBron James was much more active as he finished with 28 points. Anthony Davis had 14 points and 14 boards. As for Rip City, Malcolm Brogdon had 23 points while Anfernee Simons scored 19 in his only game against the Lakers.
Yup. The Lakers won’t see Portland any more this season as they sweep the three-game season series against them. As for what’s next, the Lakers draw the Clippers on a “road game” and then face the Bulls at home on Thursday. And then the Lakers have a 6-game road trip that may make or break their season.
It’s easy to count teams out after one game. But remember that there are 82 of these and it is a looooooong campaign. Meanwhile, the Lakers are back to .500 at 22-22.