The Los Angeles Lakers finally began to look like their old selves in a Game 2 blowout win over the Portland Trail Blazers. One of the catalysts for their strong performance was Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who broke out of a serious slump.
Prior to Thursday, Caldwell-Pope had been shooting 21.7% from three since entering the bubble. However, he was finally able to get some rhythm, going 4-of-6 from three and scoring 16 points. Seeing a good offensive game from one of the Lakers primary shooters is a breath of fresh air, and hopefully can remain a consistent thing moving forward.
Caldwell-Pope forgetting his Game 1 performance was part of the mental process. “Really, forget Game 1. I know I shot the ball terribly,” he said. “I wouldn’t even say bad. It was a terrible game for me.
“I just tried to forget about that and not carry it into Game 2. Have my mind clear and ready to play, knock down shots when I’m open. I’m a shooter, and shooters shoot. I just came with the mindset I was going to knock down shots.”
Making his first 3-point attempt in the first quarter helped his confidence significantly. “It felt good. Once I released it, it felt good. When I saw it go in, I was ready to shoot whenever I was open,” Caldwell-Pope said. “I took what the defense gave me, took my time and knocked down shots.”
His good shooting continued into the second half, where an early three essentially sealed the win for L.A. “I felt a good rhythm to start the game off. I wanted to carry it through halftime and the third quarter,” he said.
“I came out prepared and ready to shoot wide open shots. I was not worrying and letting it fly. Just trying to stay in the rhythm I had in the first half.”
With Game 3 coming up on Saturday, the Lakers are hopeful tehri solid shooting can continue, and maybe even come from other struggling players like Danny Green.
With the series tied at 1-1, the Lakers will need to use Game 3 to assert themselves on a confident Trail Blazers team.
Caldwell-Pope on keys to containing Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum
In addition to the Lakers playing a great game on Thursday, Lillard and McCollum struggled. The two stars combined for just 31 points on 12-for-30 from the field, and Caldwell-Pope hopes to maintain the same level of focus.
“Just continue to keep pressure on those guys. They’re two great players in the backcourt,” he said. “We’ve just got to continue to keep pressure on them, try to get the ball out of their hands as much as possible and try to make their teammates make plays.”
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!