On Mamba Day, the Los Angeles Lakers honored the late Kobe Bryant the best way possible by defeating the Portland Trail Blazers 135-115 to take a commanding 3-1 series lead in their first-round matchup.
Sporting their Bryant-designed Black Mamba jerseys, the Lakers raced out to a 15-0 lead and never looked back. Los Angeles was completely in sync on both ends, generating any shot they wanted while making crisp and decisive rotations on the defensive end.
Anthony Davis continued his hot shooting from Game 3 as he scored on an array of jumpers while stifling the Blazers in the paint. Meanwhile, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Danny Green helped extend the lead with a few 3s, helping the Lakers drop 43 points in the first quarter.
The second featured an engaged LeBron James as he dished out several eye-popping passes to shooters while also getting his own offensively. James also provided a highlight reel sequence as he raced down the court for a chase-down block and followed it up with an up-and-under layup.
L.A. walked into halftime with an 80-51 lead and kept the momentum going to start the third as they got out to a 12-3 run that was capped by a deep James 3, putting them up by 38 points. Davis was pulled from the game due to back spasms but he finished the night with 18 points, five rebounds, five assists and two blocks in only 18 minutes.
Even without Davis, the Lakers continued to hammer the Blazers and things only got worse for them as Damian Lillard was forced to exit after suffering an apparent knee injury. Without Lillard on the floor, Portland’s chances of making a run were all but diminished and Los Angeles took full advantage by pouring it on offensively.
Up 25 heading into the final period, James was able to sit and watch his teammates close out the game. James finished with 30 points and 10 assists, showing that he is still very much capable of locking in and dominating games when he chooses to.
On a day of celebration of Bryant and his life, the Lakers channeled his competitive spirit and appear well on their way to advancing to the next round.
Next for Lakers
The Lakers have a chance to close this series out in Game 5 and get James and Davis some much-needed rest ahead of the second round.
Los Angeles has looked sharp since their Game 1 blunder, but they can not take their foot off the gas pedal. Portland has proven to be a resilient team, so playing with the same intensity and focus will be required to send them packing.
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