LeBron James couldn’t put an end to the Los Angeles Lakers’ four-year losing streak to the Portland Trail Blazers as the Lakers lost 128-119 at the Moda Center on Friday. The Lakers have now lost their last 16 games to the Trail Blazers.
James was the talking point going into Friday’s game and he showed why, putting up a team-high 26 points to go along with 12 rebounds and 6 assists in a game-high 37 minutes. Unfortunately, his impressive stat line wasn’t enough to get the Lakers a win in their regular season opener and James’ purple and gold debut.
While James’ supporting cast showed up, the Lakers had no answer for Portland’s hot shooting guards, namely former No. 8 overall pick Nik Stauskas. Yes, you read that right.
Stauskas ended the night with 24 points on 63.6 percent shooting from the field, including 62.5 percent (5-of-8) from behind the arc. He accounted for 5 of the Blazers’ 15 3-point attempts.
Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum also reminded the league why they’re one of the most dangerous backcourts in the NBA, combining for 47 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists.
As expected, outside shooting is what separated the two teams in their first meeting. The Trail Blazers made 35 percent of their 37 total 3-point attempts, while the Lakers made just 7 of their 29 total attempts from deep.
Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram and James shot a combined 1-for-15 from behind the 3-point line. Josh Hart, who put up 20 points off the bench, led the Lakers with two 3-point makes on three attempts.
It was only the first game of the season, but all the of the concerns about the Lakers’ shooting looked legitimate on Friday.
The Lakers will look to bounce back in their own building against a Houston Rockets team that was blown out in their home opener on Thursday when they host the Rockets on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
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