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Lakers boatrace Blazers behind D’Angelo Russell’s huge night

The Lakers followed up Friday’s embarrassing loss with a much-improved performance, blowing out the Blazers with D’Angelo Russell leading the way.

Portland Trail Blazers v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images

After perhaps the worst loss of the season, the Lakers responded in emphatic fashion on Sunday with a blowout win over the Blazers, 134-110.

A huge second half from D’Angelo Russell led to him having his third 30-point night of the season as he tallied 34 points and eight assists on 14-21 shooting and 6-11 shooting from the 3-point line. LeBron James had his own big second half to finish with 28 points, five rebounds and five assists in 31 minutes.

Anthony Davis had 14 points and 14 rebounds but only played 26 minutes, exiting midway through the third quarter and never returning as the Lakers pulled away. Austin Reaves had 15 points on 5-10 shooting overall and 3-4 shooting from range, a very welcome slump-busting shooting performance.

The Lakers, with yet another new-look starting lineup as Rui Hachimura stepped in for Taurean Prince, had another hot start on Sunday, quickly opening up a double-digit lead behind LeBron. Portland responded and chipped away at the lead, pulling back within five points after a sweeping Jerami Grant shot to make it 24-19.

Duop Reath made it a two-point game to follow with a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws by Malcolm Brogdon tied the game at 242-24, capping off a 13-2 run. Despite the run, Portland never led and the Lakers found their footing to lead 36-31 at the break

Again, the hosts started the second quarter with a surge, scoring 11 of the first 16 points with most of those coming off a plethora of live ball turnovers by the Blazers. The lead again reached double figures and stayed there this time with LeBron having a good amount of responsibility for that.

Without a Cam Thomas to keep the guests within reaching distance, the Lakers’ lead stayed above double digits and the Lakers went into the locker room up 13 points.

The second half didn’t feature an immediate implosion, but it did see the Blazers cut it to a nine-point lead with a DeAndre Ayton dunk. D’Lo and Reaves hit 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to make it a 15-point lead once more.

Reaves’ breakout performance took off in the third quarter with back-to-back drives to the rim to extend the lead to 17 points. LeBron helped out with some big baskets as well, including an and-one.

There was no letoff at any point this third quarter, both a product of the Lakers having more focus on the night and the Blazers being truly bad. The lead eclipsed 20 points on a Russell 3-pointer as Portland offered little resistance.

LeBron opened the fourth quarter with a one-handed dunk and somersault follow and, while the Lakers had some empty possessions, the Blazers never made them pay. D’Angelo really drove home the dagger by catching fire from the 3-point line to secure another 30-point performance.

That D’Lo outburst served as enough to lead to the white flag being waved and the benches clearing as the Lakers closed out the win.

Key Takeaways

Seeing D’Angelo Russell find his groove over the last month has been a real joy. Unfortunately, it has come at a time when he might be playing his final games as a Laker. Either way, when he’s shooting like he did on Sunday, it’s impossible to argue against it being fun.

The Lakers’ offense nearly had a team 50-40-90 night. Again, when they cook, the Lakers really cook.

The Lakers will be back in action on Tuesday when they “travel” to the Clippers. Tip-off is slated for 77 p.m. on TNT.

You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.

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