The Blazers were led by great games from Damian Lillard (34 points, 8 assists, 3 steals) and LaMarcus Aldridge (31 points, 15 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 blocks), with support from Nicolas Batum (16 points, 7 assists) and Robin Lopez (10 points, 10 rebounds).
Meyers Leonard was ejected after less than two minutes of playing time, due to a flagrant 2 foul in the final seconds.
First Half: The Blazers had some trouble keeping the Lakers down. Portland jumped out to an early 8 point lead, but Steve Nash returned and promptly carved up the Blazer D, putting the Lakers ahead. And as Nash left with an ankle injury, Nick Young picked up a slack, hitting an insane 8-9 for 24 points in the first half. Despite this, the Blazers stayed close, mostly because they were getting inside, and making their free throws from the resultant fouls. The Lakers hit yet another three-pointer (while shooting over 50% from the field) to tie the game just before halftime, but a buzzer-beating tip in kept Portland ahead.
Portland 63, Los Angeles 61
Second Half: Aldridge took over early, pushing the Blazer lead to 11, but Young and Nash returned to help the Lakers close the gap. The Blazers bench came in and, surprisingly, expanded the lead to 14 with some opportunistic play. Unfortunately, they gave it all back in 45 seconds, taking an 8 point lead into the fourth quarter. In the fourth, Young hit yet another three-pointer to pull within single digits -- and Lillard responded with two consecutive deep three-pointers, leaving the Lakers shuffling to their bench for a timeout. Young hit consecutive shots to cut the Blazer lead to 9, but Portland picked up the defense, pushing the lead to 17 at the halfway point. With Nash done for the night, and Young unable to hit every single shot, the Lakers had nothing left in the tank, and Aldridge and Lillard helped Portland calmly finished them off, like a good playoff team should.
The Blazers head back to Portland and get two full days of recovery before their next game, Friday night against the Suns. In the meantime, stay tuned for Dave's extended analysis of tonight's game.
Gameday Thread Comments of the Night:
Thanks to everyone who participated in tonight's Gameday Thread! As always, here are the most popular comments, based on the number of Rec's from their fellow fans: