The Los Angeles Lakers beat the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday, showing much more composure compared to the tough loss they had suffered earlier in the week.
In Monday’s matchup with the Indiana Pacers, the Lakers led by 17 points in the fourth quarter before suffering a spectacular collapse — ended with rookie Andrew Nembhard’s game-winning buzzer-beater from beyond the arc.
After the game, head coach Darvin Ham said L.A. needs to learn how to play with a big lead. And the Purple and Gold seem to have done their homework, as once they first build a double-digit lead against Portland, they only extended it by the end of the clash.
Patrick Beverley, who returned from a three-game suspension on Wednesday, noticed a difference in the Lakers’ execution late during the matchup with the Blazers.
“I don’t know. I’d like to say I came back [laughs]. No, we just executed down the stretch in the fourth quarter,” he says. “Every shot that we got in the fourth quarter was generated through the offense.
“I think mostly every play, everyone touched the ball down the stretch, the last 5-6 minutes. We got into what we wanted to get into, we played with pace, we executed down the stretch.”
Beverley also said the three-game break — caused by last week’s altercation with Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton — caused him to lose his game rhythm, but he started to get it back as the clash against Portland went on.
“Not like riding a bike, but felt good to be out there,” the 34-year-old Lakers guard said. “Defensively in the first half, I was like a step behind but started to get it going in the second half and fortunate to get a win.”
Anthony Davis hopes Lakers can return from six-game road trip with at least 4-2 record
The win over the Blazers was the Lakers’ sixth victory in the last eight games, a huge improvement on the 2-10 record with which they started the season. Now, the Purple and Gold are setting off on a six-game road trip, which will see them face some of the top Eastern Conference teams.
But Anthony Davis says the Lakers currently feel like they can beat any team, adding L.A. is finally “starting to gel.” Davis also hopes they can register a positive record over the upcoming road trip.
“Above .500,” he says. “What do we have, six [games]? I say above .500. I’d say all of the games are winnable. Nothing is given out in the NBA, anything can happen.
“You want to win all of the games obviously but I think if we come out above .500, we can consider that a successful trip,” Davis adds.
The Lakers will face the Milwaukee Bucks, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Philadelphia 76ers before, among others, before they return to L.A.