The Los Angeles Lakers look to build on their strong performance when they take on the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 3, with the winner taking a 2-1 series lead.
The Lakers finally broke out of their shooting slump in a big way on Thursday night, absolutely dominating the Trail Blazers from wire to wire. Defensively, L.A. was as elite as ever, holding one of the NBA’s best offenses to a measly 88 points.
With the exception of the fourth quarter — which was entirely garbage time — the Lakers have not allowed Portland to score more than 22 in a quarter since the first 12 minutes of Game 1.
Offensively, L.A. played their best game of the bubble by far. The Lakers won 111-88 while hitting 14 3-pointers to Portland’s eight. Outshooting the Trail Blazers would be a great formula to winning the series with ease.
Anthony Davis will also look to repeat his monster performance from Game 2. In just 29 minutes, Davis had 31 points and 11 rebounds on 13-of-21 from the field. That performance made him the first Laker and fifth player ever to score over 30 points and grab over 10 rebounds in under 30 minutes in a playoff game.
Davis will be facing the exact same matchups in this game, as Trail Blazers versatile big man Zach Collins was officially ruled out for the season due to a hairline fracture. Wenyen Gabriel, Hassan Whiteside and Jusuf Nurkic will be largely in charge of handling Davis.
LeBron James is also hoping to get things going for himself in this series, as Game 2 saw him put up just 10 points, six rebounds and seven assists, to go along with six turnovers. Despite a record-breaking Game 1 from James, he has yet to look fully engaged in the series.
As for the role players, the 3-point shooting continues to be the top priority. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope finally found some rhythm in the form of 4-of-6 from three, scoring 16 points. However, the remainder of the role players still struggled, as Danny Green, Markieff Morris, Alex Caruso and Kyle Kuzma combined to go just 3-for-14 behind the arc
If Game 2 was proof of anything, it’s that the Lakers have the ability to simply overwhelm the Trail Blazers, so long as the defense remains strong and just two or three of L.A.’s players has their shots falling.
Damian Lillard will be a story to watch, as he suffered a dislocated finger in the third quarter of Game 2. Although he will play, Lillard is concerned about the injury impacting his ballhandling.
Rajon Rondo is active for Game 3, but Lakers head coach Frank Vogel did not reveal if he would play. That wound up being a moot point, however, as Rondo experienced back spasms during pregame warmups and was subsequently ruled out.
Lakers (1-1) vs. Trail Blazers (1-1)
5:30 p.m. PT, Aug. 22, 2020
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Orlando, Florida
Radio: ESPN L.A. 710
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: LeBron James
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
SF: Danny Green
PF: Anthony Davis
C: JaVale McGee
Key Reserves: Kyle Kuzma, Alex Caruso, Dwight Howard, Markieff Morris, Rajon Rondo
Projected Trail Blazers Starting Lineup:
PG: Damian Lillard
SG: CJ McCollum
SF: Carmelo Anthony
PF: Wenyen Gabriel
C: Jusuf Nurkic
Key Reserves: Gary Trent Jr., Hassan Whiteside, Mario Hezonja
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