After losing 14 of 15 games, the Los Angeles Lakers look to end that skid as they faced the Portland Trail Blazers for the third time this season. The Trail Blazers hoped to hand the Lakers a franchise-record 11th straight road defeat.
The Trail Blazers came in at 35-17 overall and 22-5 at home. They have defeated the Lakers January 05 at home, 98-94, and 106-94, on the road just six days later.
The Lakers have continued to struggle as they are 13-39 overall and own the league’s second-worst record. They have lost five straight overall after Tuesday’s loss to the Denver Nuggets, 106-96. Lakers are 14th place in the conference and two games ahead of the Minnesota Timberwolves, 11-41.
Against the Lakers, Damian Lillard, who is about to take part in his second All-Star Game, is averaging 36.5 points and shooting 56.8 percent from the field.
To start the first quarter, a foul by Ryan Kelly allowed Trail Blazers’ Nicolas Batum to score two free throws, giving Portland a 2-0 lead to start. After the Blazers scored the first seven points, Wayne Ellington hit a gliding jumper, finally putting the Lakers on the board. Jordan Clarkson hit two more free throws, cutting the deficit to three, 7-4 with 9:42 on the clock. Halfway through the first, Portland led the by five, but a Clarkson floater cut that to three, 20-17. Ellington splashed in a three to allow the Lakers to make it a two-point game, 22-20. Hitting the two-minute mark, the Lakers continued to trail, 30-20, as the Trail Blazers took advantage of the Lakers poor defense. A three-pointer by Nick Young came out unlucky as it rolled out of hoop, as the Lakers were still down, 32-24.
A three-point play by Young put the Lakers still down by eight, 35-27, with about ten minutes left to play in the first half. Young crossed over, tripping Steve Blake, and hit a jumper, but the Lakers still trailed 41-33 as they were unable to contain Trail Blazers. The Lakers continued to shoot poorly midway through the game. Ed Davis scored for the Lakers and Ryan Kelly hit a three to keep the Lakers within eight at 50-42. To end the second quarter, the Lakers trail 54-46. Portland kept the lead within double-digits until the final few minutes. Ellington led the team with nine points, followed by Kelly with eight and Young with seven, heading into the second half of the game.
Heading into the second half, Robert Sacre scored first in the second half with a jumper. Aldridge answered back with two free throws, keeping that eight-point lead. Wesley Matthews stole the ball with less than nine minutes left in the game and got the assist to Lillard, which extended the lead to 12, 62-50 Trail Blazers. They continued to dominate the Lakers and extended their lead to as many as 17. Two free throws by Clarkson cut that deficit to 15 with 7:15 left on the clock. Two back-to-back shots made by Portland, with 5:24 left, extended their lead 77-56 over the Lakers. The Lakers struggled to get points on the board and be aggressive defensively as the game quickly got out of hand in the third. The Lakers trailed 88-65 going into the final period.
The Lakers got off to a solid start in the fourth quarter behind Ellington who hit two shots, which coupled with an Ed Davis hook gave the Lakers a 7-2 run to start the quarter. Unfortunately they still trailed by 18 early in the fourth. Johnson hit a mid-range jumper before both offenses went cold for a couple of minutes. A Johnson three ended the dry spell, but Meyers Leonard hit one of his own as the Lakers never put a serious dent in the lead. The Lakers brought in mass substitutions midway through the quarter and Jordan Clarkson got himself a couple of decent baskets, but the Lakers remained behind by 19 with three minutes left. The Blazers bench finished out the game as Allen Crabbe hit a jumper. Clarkson hit Sacre for a short hook and knocked down a three of his own as time wound down. The Lakers would fall to the Blazers 102-86.
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