Los Angeles wastes a balanced offensive output as Damian Lillard explodes for 39
Since the All-Star break, the Los Angeles Lakers have appeared to be getting their groove back as they have won 5 consecutive games, bringing up the hopes of their fans that this season might be the season wherein the Lakers will finally break their playoff drought. Then, the Lakers of Lonzo Ball and Julius Randle have found themselves facing the Portland Trail Blazers- a team who is on a 6-game winning streak of their own heading into this game. And by the way, the Blazers are now the third-best team in the Western Conference.
After scoring just 15 points in the third quarter, the Portland Trail Blazers turned it around in the fourth quarter thanks to Damian Lillard who led them with 39 points to lead all scorers- en route to a 108-103 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers who are without Josh Hart and Brandon Ingram. Ingram, for one, is expected to miss a week- according to Coach Luke Walton. While the Blazers won their 7th consecutive game, this might be a big blow for the Lakers' chances of snatching a playoff spot as they are still down 7 games against the Denver Nuggets who are currently seated in the 8th spot in the West.
After the game, Lonzo Ball said that this is one game he felt that the Lakers have let go on their own considering their lapses, especially in the clutch. And below are some of the numbers to back Lonzo's statement:
Lillard was Unstoppable. Again
Let's start with the most obvious reason why the Lakers lost this game. Their lack of defensive intensity has allowed Damian Lillard to go supernova, scoring 39 points. Dame went 12 for 25 from the field including 6 for 11 shooting from the three-point line. In fact, Lillard nailed four of his 6 threes in the fourth quarter including one from 32 feet. Lillard was also aggressive going to the free throw line, making 9 of 12 from the line. Overall, it was another day at the office for Lillard.
Isaiah Thomas' Ugly Shooting
Not to blame the loss of the Lakers to the Blazers on Thomas alone but if you look at the stat sheet, sure, he had 19 points but only made 5 of his 21 shot attempts. What was worse is the fact that he only made 1 of the 9 threes that he fired and his last attempt was blocked by Shabazz Napier! He also missed a crucial free throw in the dying seconds of the game.
It's too bad that the Lakers wasted an opportunity to extend their winning streak and inch closer to the playoff picture. While the team still have tons of games left on their schedule, they better start winning anew if they intend to make it to the next round.
On the other side, this win means that the Blazers have swept their season series against the Purple and Gold. With postseason mainstays like the San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma City Thunder struggling to gather a sustainable momentum, the Blazers are appearing to have been surging at the right moment.