The Lakers got blown out by the Trail Blazers, 127-115, thanks to an incredible 3-point shooting display by Portland, who hit a grand total of 23 triples on the night to run away with the victory.
Yes, LeBron James was out again, but with Anthony Davis up against a depleted Portland frontline, a win not only seemed possible, but was downright expected. However, victory should never be assumed when the Lakers play against Damian Lillard, as he put on a show and dropped 40 points on the purple and gold.
The Lakers are now 26-32 overall and dropped another game they can’t afford to lose as they failed to gain ground against Portland in the standings by winning this head-to-head matchup.
The entire game wasn’t a complete disaster, and the opening minutes were good for L.A. They were up 12-5 and the offense was humming along and AD was playing well early.
Then everything fell apart.
Portland got red-hot from deep and ran the Lakers out of the gym in the first quarter, hitting 10-14 threes in the opening frame alone. At first, it was a combination of awful contests from Rui Hachimura and the Blazers hitting shots, but Portland quickly gained momentum and it didn’t matter what L.A. did; the shots were falling for the Blazers, and they ended up with a 15-point advantage after one.
Portland hit more 3's in the first half than any team has hit in a half this season - 17 - including the 8th from Damian Lillard alone, just ahead of the buzzer.— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) February 14, 2023
Lakers, who were just 3 for 17 from 3, and had 0 fast break points, trail 65-46.
The rest of the half was the Dame show, as whenever the Lakers made anything even resembling a run Dame, would counter with a 30-plus foot jumper to keep the crowd involved and L.A. at bay. Portland barely cooled down from deep and hit another seven threes in the second quarter, and with the Lakers facing a 19-point deficit at the half, this one was all but done.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t done, and I was contractually obligated to watch just as the Lakers are contractually obligated to play.
But a comeback or spark of hope was never found in the Pacific Northwest for L.A. as the deficit continued to increase marginally through the third, making the rest of the game garbage time for the Lakers. With the loss a forgone conclusion, Darvin Ham cleared out the bench, bringing in Max Christie and Davon Reed for the first time tonight and taking AD out for good with 6:42 left in the game.
With Portland hitting an ungodly amount of threes, do you just do the M.J. shrug and move on? Was it just a fluke? A game where Portland was hot and without your best player, there isn’t much else to dissect?
Well, yes and no.
The shooting was an anomaly. Portland normally isn’t this good at making threes, and despite their defensive challenges, the Lakers aren’t this bad. But they are bad. They’re allowing the third-highest three-point percentage, and are just decimal points away from being the worst in the league.
We talk so much about offensive lineups, LeBron and AD, and the new additions, but if you can’t defend the second (maybe even first) most valuable shot in the league, none of that will matter and the Lakers’ season will end after 82 games.
The Lakers will have one more game before the much-needed All-Star break against the Pelicans on Tuesday. Let’s see if they can end this portion of the season with a win.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.