The Los Angeles Lakers took a 2-1 series lead over with a 116-108 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 3 on Saturday night.
The Trail Blazers played well early on as Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum got off to hot starts shooting the basketball, while the Lakers looked sluggish. L.A. turned the ball over several times and were dreadful from the free throw line, particularly Anthony Davis.
With the Lakers struggling to get going, LeBron James took it upon himself to kickstart the offense with aggressive drives to the basket. His ruthlessness getting to the cup put Portland in foul trouble and set the tone for the rest of the night.
James finished the night with a near triple-double (38 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists), to go along with two steals. His only blemish were eight turnovers, but luckily that did not cost them the game.
The Lakers went into the half down four points, but quickly turned that around in the third quarter as their 3-point attempts started to finally go down. Davis was quiet from the field in the first half, but took advantage of Portland double-teaming, racking up seven assists.
Once they took the lead, the Lakers did not let up defensively as they did a good job of bottling up the Trail Blazers and pushing the pace. Davis, who only scored five points in the first half, finally got going as he bullied his way in the paint for dunks and foul calls to help create some separation on the scoreboard.
The big man had a double-double (29 points, 11 rebounds) and truly asserted himself in the minutes where James sat. Alex Caruso and Davis had a nice two-man game going in the fourth quarter that resulted in three straight midrange jumpers for Davis, further showing off how dominant he can be on any given night.
Caruso had his best game of the series as he went for 10 points, seven assists, and four rebounds off the bench. He was steady in the flow of the offense, making the correct reads while also doing his best to slow down Lillard on the other end.
Both teams looked gassed down the stretch, but James iced the game after draining his fourth three of the night.
Next for Lakers
The Lakers are expected to honor Kobe Bryant during Game 4 by wearing the “Black Mamba” City Edition jerseys that he designed and debuted during the 2017-18 season.
The game falls on Aug. 24 and represents a golden opportunity for Los Angeles to take a commanding 3-1 series lead.
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