An inauspicious start to the night carried through the game as Los Angeles Lakers squandered a lead and suffered a 104-101 loss to Portland Trail Blazers on a Moe Harkless buzzer-beater. The Lakers finished the season with a loss and 6-4 in their final 10 games.
Both teams traded punches to start the game thanks to the porous defense. They continued to exchange leads until the Blazers were able to somewhat take control going into the final stretch of the first quarter on the back of Enes Kanter’s 15 points.
Los Angeles was able to remain within striking distance due to the combined efforts of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Mike Muscala from deep. As a result, the first quarter ended with Portland leading 26-25.
The game of runs continued well into the second quarter for both teams. The shorthanded Lakers wasted no time in going to their bench to help provide a spark and they managed to hold their own against the fourth-seeded Blazers.
Unfortunately, it was not long before Portland was able to take control after a number of careless turnovers by Los Angeles. Although the young Lakers provided them with ample opportunities to build a commanding lead, the Blazers only found themselves ahead 53-48 at halftime.
The second half got off to a similar start with both teams trading baskets to begin the third quarter. While there was certainly no shortage of effort on the Lakers’ end, their struggles on offense made it easy for the Blazers to secure a 10-point lead off three straight buckets in the paint from Harkless.
Los Angeles somehow managed to take the lead by going on a 13-3 run to end the second quarter. Caldwell-Pope put the exclamation point on a stellar turnaround with a three-pointer to give the Lakers a 74-73 lead going into the final period.
The Lakers momentum carried over into the fourth quarter thanks to their effort on both ends of the floor. Jemmerio Jones was able to make his presence felt with a birthday double-double that included a game-high 14 rebounds at the time.
Portland’s backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum made it clear that they were not going down without a fight after combining for nine points and five assists in the final seven minutes of the game.
Surprisingly, it was Harkless that emerged as the hero by scoring the Blazers’ final 11 points of the game, including the game-winning 3-pointer to give his team homecourt advantage in the playoffs.