The Portland Trail Blazers turned in one of their worst performances of the season on Thursday, dropping Game 2 of their first round playoff match-up against the Los Angeles Lakers by a final score of 111-88. The loss evens the series 1-1.
Anthony Davis led the charge for the Lakers, going for 31 points and 11 rebounds in just 29 minutes of action. Damian Lillard led Portland with 18, while CJ McCollum was the only other Blazers starter in double-figures.
Both teams found success in the paint early, before back-to-back threes from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope gave the Lakers some early separation. As it turned out, the Blazers would never recover. Portland’s foul troubles carried over from Game 1, as Wenyen Gabriel picked up his second personal foul at the seven-minute mark—sending him to the bench early. After starting just 1-8 from distance, the Blazers trailed 27-19 after the first frame, despite L.A. going just 2-8. The Lakers were anchored by 11 points from Davis, who also had three offensive rebounds.
The Lakers continued to attack the rim, but Gary Trent Jr. helped keep the Blazers within shouting distance offensively in the early going. The whistles were fast and furious, as Gabriel, Jusuf Nurkic, Dwight Howard and Alex Caruso each picked up their third foul in the period. Portland went ice cold from the field, but the Lakers weren’t able to take advantage until the final minutes, when they closed on a 12-2 run to take a 56-39 lead into the break. The Blazers shot just 35% in the half, including 3-15 from three-point land.
L.A. opened on a 7-2 run before an early Blazers timeout. Things got worse from there, as Gabriel picked up his fourth foul with just shy of nine minutes remaining. Portland’s defense yielded a number of wide open looks for the Lakers, who took advantage—extending their lead to well over 20 points. Davis stayed red-hot, both inside and out, while the Blazers offense struggled to find any kind of rhythm.
By the end of the quarter, the Lakers were ahead comfortably, 88-58. To add injury to insult, Lillard appeared to dislocate his left index finger just under the two-minute mark. He left the game and did not return—though with the score so lopsided, he likely wouldn’t have anyway.
Portland waved the white towel early, going deep into their bench and resting their starters for the entire quarter. Anfernee Simons and Jaylen Hoard provided a few nice moments in the mostly irrelevant frame as the team slunk to their eventual defeat, but did outscore the Lakers 30-23 in the final stanza.
The Brow Bounces Back
After a bit of a tough performance in Game 1, in which he scored 28 points but was just 8-24 from the field and 0-5 from three, Davis stepped up in a big way in Game 2. He scored early and often, dominating down low while also showing off his range. He finished the game with an impressive shooting line—13-21 from the field and 3-4 from distance—and was a significant reason the Lakers won the paint (52-40) and rebound (50-41) battles.
While the Blazers finished just 8-29 (28%) from three, well below their season average, the Lakers also shot well above theirs, going 14-38 (37%) from downtown after a rough start. This is in stark contrast to their performance in Game 1, when they shot just 5-32 from distance. Caldwell-Pope was a big part of this, going from 0-5 to 4-6, including the pair of triples early that gave L.A. the only distance they would really end up needing.
For Portland, Lillard and McCollum were a combined 2-12 from three, while Simons and Trent were the only players to hit more than one in the game.
The Blazers will look to turn the page in Game 3 on Saturday, which is scheduled to tip-off at 5:30 p.m. PT on ABC.