The Los Angeles Lakers played one good half of basketball and another they’d rather forget in a 108-87 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. Damian Lillard scored just two points in the first half, yet the Lakers could only scrape together an two-point lead going into halftime. The Trail Blazers took charge in the third quarter, and some quick jawing between Lillard and D’Angelo Russell seemed to be the tipping point as Portland blazed away from STAPLES Center with the victory.
The Lakers’ minuscule lead going into the half was immediate cause for worry. The odds of Lillard not finding some fire in his game seemed low, and Russell engaging in a verbal altercation was a lit match for him. Portland brought the pain, turning a one-point lead into an eventual 21-point blowout in STAPLES Center. The Lakers scored a measly 12 points in the third as the game slipped away from them. D’Angelo, meanwhile, failed to hit a three-pointer against the Trail Blazers again. He went 0-for-7 from deep.
Russell started the game strong, pushing the pace with some highlight-worthy transition passing, but didn’t carry that momentum into the second half. He finished the game with nine points, eight rebounds and six assists. Julius Randle struggled to make an impact, scoring just six points with 10 rebounds.
It was C.J. McCollum filling up the scoreboard for Portland again, dropping a game-high 25 points on LA. Lillard scored 18 points in the second half, ending with 20 and one lesson taught to young D’Angelo. Al-Faroq Aminu grabbed 15 rebounds, a huge contributor to the Blazers’ 50-38 boarding advantage on the night.
This was a disappointing outcome for the Lakers, who started to look ready to make a serious push after back-to-back impressive wins and a quality victory over Memphis just one week ago. Instead, they locked up their second loss to the Trail Blazers in a week, brought back down to reality after flying high for a bit.
Until Thursday, when they lock up with the San Antonio Spurs in Texas.