The Portland Trail Blazers started off the 2018-19 season in style on Thursday night, defeating the Los Angeles Lakers 128-119 in front of a raucous Moda Center crowd. They scored 30 or more points in three of the four quarters, capped off by a 35 points fourth stanza. Damian Lillard led the way with 28 points, six rebounds and four assists on the night. Nick Stauskus chipped in 24 off the bench, and CJ McCollum added 21 points and five boards. LeBron James had a solid showing in his first regular season game in a Lakers uniform, finishing with 26 points, 12 rebounds and six assists in a losing effort. Josh Hart had 20 points off the Lakers bench.
Here are a few takeaways from tonight’s game:
- Early Fireworks! Damian Lillard and LeBron James went mano-e-mano in the game’s opening minutes with a breathtaking dunk display.
- Hot Sauce! Nik Stauskus started his night shooting 6/6 from the field and 4/4 from three-point land, keying an impressive Blazers run. He finished with 24 points on 7-11 shooting (5-8 from distance) in his team regular season debut.
- Block Party! The Blazers had ten blocks on the night, including a career-high six from Zach Collins and three from Maurice Harkless, who played 18 minutes off the bench in his return from injury.
- Streaks Alive! The win marked the Blazers’ 18th straight home opener victory, 16th straight over the Lakers and sixth straight over LeBron in Portland, dating back to his time with the Miami Heat.
- Regular Season Rondo? Blazer playoff nemesis Rajon Rondo, who has a knack for saving his best performances for the postseason, had an inspired effort in his Lakers debut. The wily veteran finished with 13 points, four rebounds and 11 assists, earning the start over second-year man Lonzo Ball
The Blazers host LaMarcus Aldridge, DeMar DeRozan and the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday night. Stay tuned for extended analysis of tonight’s game from Brian Freeman!