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Recap: Blazers Struggle On Defense, Fall To Lakers, 126-117

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Portland had no answer for Los Angeles in the interior, and it cost them at the start of a long road trip.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Los Angeles Lakers Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

A strong start for the Portland Trail Blazers was not sustainable, as they fell on the first game of a six game road trip to the Los Angeles Lakers, 126-117

Damian Lillard had 31 points, 11 assists and 8 rebounds, CJ McCollum added 23 points, and Jusuf Nurkic had 21 points and 14 rebounds, but Portland let an early 13 point lead go before halftime. Los Angeles scored 38 in the third quarter, then blew the game open with a long run at the start of the fourth quarter. LeBron James had 44 points, 10 rebounds, and 9 assists, and JaVale McGee scored 20 points, including 14 in the first half.

Here are the takeaways from tonight’s game:

  • Early Three-Point Shooting — Portland hit six of their first nine three-pointers and opened up a lead as large as 13 in the first half, only to fall prey to a rally led by perennial Portland pounder JaVale McGee.
  • Defense Falls to Pieces — Los Angles shot 50% from the field, and 54% from three. Jusuf Nurkic, Zach Collins, and Meyers Leonard were simply overwhelmed in the paint for much of night, with McGee, James, and Brandon Ingram combining to shoot 13-of-13 at the rim.
  • Seth Curry Leaves the Game — Curry left the game in the second quarter with a right knee injury, and did not return.
  • LeBron moves up the scoring list — He passed Wilt Chamberlain into the 5th spot all time in NBA scoring. ESPN may have mentioned it once or twice in the broadcast.

BOX SCORE

The Blazers play again Friday night in Minnesota, where the Wolves have won their first two games since the Jimmy Butler trade.