In a game that came down to the wire, the Los Angeles Lakers ultimately would lose to the Portland Trail Blazers, 106-101, and fall to the seventh seed. With the win, the Trail Blazers now own the tiebreaker between the two teams if it comes down to that.
Alex Caruso was able to start despite a foot contusion and knocked down the Lakers’ first 3-pointer of the night, but the Trail Blazers went up 7-3 early. Anthony Davis was aggressive getting to the basket and drawing free throws, but Portland’s outside shooting gave them an eight-point lead.
Los Angeles went nearly minutes without a field goal as they turned the basketball over, but Wesley Matthews ended the drought with a three in transition. Despite getting a few consecutive stops, the Lakers gave up several outside shots to Portland and found themselves looking at a 34-22 deficit at the end of one quarter.
The Lakers were able to cut the Blazer lead in half at the top of the second as they were able to get into the paint and finish at the rim. Portland was able to go back up by 10 thanks to their guards, but Los Angeles answered to keep the game within striking distance.
Anthony Davis finally started to show signs of life, scoring in the post and disrupting shots defensively but the Blazers continued to take advantage of their backcourt to remain comfortably ahead. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Marc Gasol came to life offensively down the stretch and the Lakers found themselves only down 59-55 at halftime.
A big reason for the Laker run to end the half was their ability to take care of the ball better. After turning it over eight times in the first quarter, they had zero in the second.
The Laker offense found its rhythm atop the third as the players collectively found their jumpers, including a Davis 3-pointer that gave them the lead. Davis continued to torch the Portland defense as he simply rose over the top and saw shots go down.
L.A. then saw itself struggling to score again which allowed Portland to retake control with about four minutes left in the period. Damian Lillard was able to snake knife into the lane for layups, and the Lakers went into the fourth trailing 82-78.
It looked like the contest would slip away from the Purple and Gold as they came out a bit flat, but they battled back to keep the score close. Defensively they turned things up a notch as they forced Portland into several contested shots, but could not make up ground on the other end.
The Lakers looked like they were on their way to capturing the momentum with a mid-quarter, but Lillard cut things off with clutch baskets to give the Blazers a seven-point lead. Davis led the way on both ends down the stretch, but it was not enough and Los Angeles would fall to Portland.
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