The Los Angeles Lakers came into Thursday night having lost their last 12 meetings against the Portland Trail Blazers — their last win dating all the way back to March of 2014. That streak continues on after the purple and gold lost 110-113 in a heartbreaker that featured a game-winning three-pointer from Damian Lillard.
The Lakers’ defense, as great as it has been these past few games, came out flat to start the game against a scorching Blazers team that hung up 41 points in the 1st quarter alone. Once the Lakers got back to pushing the pace and locking in on defense, the team was able to recover from the lethargic start to keep the game competitive. Ultimately, though, it wasn’t enough to sneak out a win from the Moda Center.
Brandon Ingram continued to show off his improved jump shot and chipped in 14 points, while Kyle Kuzma remained hot pouring in 22 points on just 10-of-17 shooting (58.8%). Despite the rocky start, both were crucial in ensuring the team was never out of striking position.
Brook Lopez paced the team with 27 points on an efficient 9-of-15 shooting (60%) with what was easily his best game donning the purple and gold uniform. It was great to see Lopez finally get going as he’s had a relatively quiet start to the season; his play will be critical going forward if the Lakers squad are looking to improve upon last year’s win total.
The Lakers’ shooting woes from behind the three-point line continued as they only hit on 22.2 percent of their attempts from outsider. Eight games into the season, and the paltry outside shooting has become a recurring theme. It’s something to keep an eye on as how they fare from there may very well be the difference between wins and losses this year.
Jusuf Nurkic finished the game with a season-high of 28 points in only 29 minutes, showing why he’s one of the more promising big men around the league. The Trail Blazers’ lethal backcourt of Lillard and C.J. McCollum put on a show as they poured in a combined 54 points along with 10 assists and seven threes.
Up next? D’Angelo Russell and the Brooklyn Nets come visit the Staples Center Friday night in what will be a bittersweet game for many Lakers fans.
Editor’s Note: Please welcome Niko Daza to a more prominent role as part of the staff here at Silver Screen and Roll! I’m excited to have someone who’s been a part of this community for so long contributing with our team this year, and know he’s pumped to be involved. You can give him a follow right over here on Twitter!