The Los Angeles Lakers got off to good starts in the first and third quarters, but failed to close out a winnable game against the Portland Trail Blazers, snapping their modest two-game winning streak.
Dating back to last season L.A. was 59-0 when leading after the third quarter. They were excellent on both ends to begin the game, but turnovers and a stagnant offense allowed the Trail Blazers to find their footing on offense and take control.
Los Angeles was able to respond with a large run coming out of halftime, but Portland’s guards responded in the fourth quarter and ended up taking hold the momentum for good.
“Both teams just settled in,” LeBron James said. “We knew we were playing a very good team, so we knew it wasn’t going to be a blowout. We had to win the game throughout 48 minutes. We got off to a really good start but both teams settled in and it just came down to execution.
“I thought we had some great looks that didn’t go down for us that went down for us the last couple games. Especially Kuz. He had some great looks and I think the one that he made by their bench was the toughest one out of all the shots that he had. We had some good looks around the rim that didn’t go in, and they capitalized off some of our mistakes we had offensively.”
James had his best game so far of the 2020-21 season, scoring 29 points to go along with nine rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block in 36 minutes of action. James’ outing was more impressive considering he was dealing with a sprained ankle.
Although the offense sputtered at times, the bigger disappointment came on the defensive end, where a lack of effort and miscues led to some easy points for Portland. Turnovers were also an issue as the Lakers committed 15 to only 10 for the Blazers.
However, it is important to remember the team is still figuring out its rotation and it will take more time for them to be as unstoppable as Kentavious Caldwell-Pope believes they can be.
LeBron on upcoming road trip
Amidst the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, road trips will be even more of an obstacle this season. James admitted that playing away from Staples Center for actual games will be a challenge in of itself. “It’s going to be different,” he said.
“Going down to Texas and then heading to Tennessee, we’ll see what the rules and regulations in certain counties compared to ours. But more importantly, just trying to stay safe, stay healthy so we can be available for the games and go out and play Laker basketball.”
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