The Los Angeles Lakers overcame a troubling Game 1 showing and proceeded to win their next four games against the Portland Trail Blazers, completing a backdoor sweep that allowed them to advance to the second round of the NBA Playoffs for the first time since 2012.
The Lakers played a smothering brand of defense throughout the series, limiting a Trail Blazers offense that had been scorching in the bubble during seeding games. Anthony Davis and LeBron James also took charge, capitalizing on what was clearly an overwhelmed and thin Portland frontcourt.
Damian Lillard was the primary reason why the Trail Blazers had an outside shot of upsetting the Lakers, but he suffered a dislocated finger on his left hand and later a knee strain that ruled him out for the remainder of the series.
The superstar guard showed, though, that Portland is never out of a game as long as he takes the floor. However, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic, this matchup may have never come to fruition as Los Angeles seemed intent on trading for Lillard to flank James:
A source with knowledge of Lillard’s situation said there was Lakers interest in a superstar pairing with Lillard and LeBron James before the Davis deal went down in June 2019.
When James shocked the NBA and headed to Los Angeles, it was inevitable that the team would try to pair him with another star player. Lillard was a logical choice given Portland’s previous playoff showings and his game would have been perfect next to a player like James.
It appears any trade talks did not go far, though, as the Blazers and Lillard still enjoy a healthy partnership with no signs of the two sides parting ways anytime soon. A Lillard-James duo would have been an electric match, but Lakers fans are also enjoying watching the blossoming play of James and Davis.
LeBron, AD dynamic impressing
The chemistry Davis and James have developed both on and off the court has seemingly been seamless and a flawless transition.
“Kind of don’t have a choice, to be honest,” Davis joked. “We’re two guys that like to have fun, we like to work, we like to winOff the court we just kind of clicked as two guys who like to have fun, two guys who are big kids, play Xbox, have game nights back in L.A. Stuff like that is unique.
“We’ve known each other for a long time but I think when you’ve got two guys that click like that on and off the floor, is great for an organization.”
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