The Los Angeles Lakers have evened the series against the Portland Trailblazers, 1-1. Anthony Davis led the way with 31 points, a dominant showing all night long.
Things looked grim for the top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers coming into game 2. The red-hot Blazers stunned them in game 1, an 8 seed taking down a 1 seed. Since the NBA’s restart, Los Angeles was 3-6 and ranked near the bottom of the league in most offensive stats. Their two superstars (LeBron James and Anthony Davis) were struggling to find much consistency on offense. No role player showed any signs of being a reliable third option.
But luckily for the Lakers, the problems that plagued them for their first 9 bubble games were almost nowhere to be found in Game 2. They thwarted the Trail Blazers by a score of 111-88, marking their first playoff win since May 18, 2012.
LeBron James scored just 10 points, but it didn’t matter – the Lakers were dominant all night long. Led by 31 points from Anthony Davis and 36.8% shooting from deep, LA’s offense finally showed signs of life in a crucial victory that tied the series at 1 game apiece.
Davis feasted on the Blazers’ defense no matter who they threw at him. He hit shots from everywhere on the court, flashing some of his guard skills that he developed while playing the position in high school. If this strong showing from Davis continues in Game 3 and beyond, the Lakers should be the favorites to capture the NBA championship.
Los Angeles also got a key contribution from shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who bounced back from a nightmare Game 1 performance with 16 points and 4 makes from beyond the arc in Game 2. He held his own on defense as well.
Speaking of defense, that was also the story of the Lakers’ dominance on Thursday. They neutralized Damian Lillard to a mere 18 points before he exited the game with a dislocated finger. This came in the midst of one of the most prolific scoring stretches of recent memory that featured Lillard averaging 47 points over his last 4 games.
Additionally, the Blazers’ offense as a whole was uncharacteristically ineffective. They repeatedly failed to get good looks against a stifling Lakers D and scored a season-low 88 points, many of which came in garbage time.
The Lakers and Blazers will meet again for Game 3 on Saturday, August 22 with the series tied 1-1.