On the court for Game 5 three days later than originally scheduled, the Los Angeles Lakers were pushed by a shorthanded Portland Trail Blazers team but still came away with a 131-122 win to advance to the Western Conference Semifinals for the first time since 2012.
With LeBron James initially playing the role of facilitator, Anthony Davis got off to another strong start. However, he also got into early foul trouble and Portland played with a spirited effort to take a lead.
James began to attack the basket and the Lakers closed the first quarter on a run to pull ahead. But they again found themselves trailing as CJ McCollum and Carmelo Anthony shouldered the offensive load for the Trail Blazers with Damian Lillard out.
Fellow 2003 draftees Anthony and James continued trading baskets through much of the second quarter. James drained a 3-pointer just before the half to pull the Lakers even with the Trail Blazers.
Davis made up for lost time in the first half by starting the third quarter by scoring the Lakers’ first seven points. The Trail Blazers initially remained in the game during that stretch, but L.A. began to create separation.
A basket by Anthony pulled the Trail Blazers within two points, only for the Lakers to respond with a 15-3 run. It was built on multiple 3-pointers by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Davis and James.
But just as the Lakers began to pull away, McCollum remained on the attack and carried the Blazers to a strong finish in the third. They rode that momentum into the fourth quarter and tied the game on Anfernee Simons’ 3-pointer.
The Lakers came out of a timeout with a 3 from James and Kyle Kuzma fadeaway to break the tie. Gary Trent Jr. later tied the game once again, but a spurt from Davis put the Lakers ahead for good.
Waiting for Western Conference Semifinals
While the Lakers are into the Western Conference Semifinals, they don’t yet know the identity of their opponent. The Houston Rockets lead 3-2 in their first-round series with the Oklahoma City Thunder and can close them out on Monday.
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