The Los Angeles Lakers went out on the road on Friday night, taking on the Portland Trail Blazers looking to stay undefeated in the NBA’s inaugural In-Season Tournament.
Coming off a loss on Wednesday night, both LeBron James and Anthony Davis played despite it being the Lakers’ third game in four nights. The Lakers were able to take care of the undermanned Trail Blazers as a result, winning 107-95 to put themselves one win away from winning Group A of the Western Conference. L.A. will host the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night and will advance to the knockout stages with a win.
The Lakers came into the night with an NBA-best plus-30 point differential, which is the tiebreaker in group play, and they were able to raise that to plus-42.
In what was a rarity, the Lakers got off to a hot start as D’Angelo Russell connected on a pair of 3-pointers and James made one as well. Taurean Prince was then fouled on a 3-point attempt and made and made them all to put L.A. up 16-6.
LeBron went to attack mode from there with a few easy ones inside, including a steal and thunderous dunk in transition on a feed from Russell.
The Lakers got a bit sloppy with the ball from there though, resulting in an 8-0 run before Austin Reaves ended it with a layup to give L.A. a 30-23 lead at the end of the first.
Jerami Grant, who is known to have great games against the Lakers, got going early in the second with four straight points before Christian Wood eventually responded with six straight of his own to get the lead back to double digits.
Davis was everywhere defensively in the first half, protecting the paint with numerous blocked shots. He started to get going offensively towards the end of the half too with a few easy buckets on nice passed from Russell and Prince. Sharpe ended the half with four quick points though so the Lakers’ lead was cut to 60-50.
The Lakers again came out sloppy to begin the third, committing some silly turnovers and not attacking the defensive glass. Grant connected twice from downtown again and suddenly it was a three-point game.
Davis found James for an alley-oop and then Russell drilled another 3 though as the Lakers answered with five straight. That only slowed down the Trail Blazers momentarily though as they continued to attack the offensive glass to keep it close.
James continued his big night with two big bombs though, and the Lakers eventually took an 82-75 lead into the fourth quarter.
L.A. began the fourth quarter on a 7-0 run led by LeBron, taking control of the game with their lead back up to 14. James then found Rui Hachimura for five straight points and Cam Reddish came up with a steal and a layup, effectively putting the game out of reach.
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