The Portland Trail Blazers faced off against the Los Angeles Lakers minus half their lineup tonight due to COVID and injuries. L.A. played without Anthony Davis, but LeBron James did suit up. That was all the Lakers needed. LeBron scored 43, L.A. shot 54.8% from the field and 45.0% from the arc. That was enough for a 139-106 trouncing, a game in which Portland never stood a chance.
If you missed the action, consider yourself lucky! You can peruse the quarter-by-quarter recap here.
Normally we have a half-dozen points describing the intricacies of play. Tonight, we just need two.
First, whatever this version of the Blazers is playing, it barely resembles basketball. L.A. ran over, through, and past Portland with the most basic sets imaginable. It was tutorial mode out there. Backdoor cuts, simple screens, drive and dish...everything led to an open opportunity for the Lakers.
They didn’t have much more difficulty defending Portland themselves. Simply keeping between the man and the bucket was enough. The Blazers scored when the opponent got lazy. Otherwise...not so much.
The fractured roster looms large here. There’s no continuity. It looks like these players have barely met each other because that’s exactly what’s happening. Until that changes, I don’t hold out much hope for success.
Second, LeBron James is impossibly good, but he also looked impossibly LARGE against Portland’s barely-there lineup. The Blazers had one player LeBron’s height, nobody with his bulk. He could post, hit threes, cut, dribble-drive, or pull up. They couldn’t stop him from doing any of it. The Blazers are so small. They’re vulnerable to any team with height. They have less than no counter to an all-world player with LeBron’s size.
And that’s it, folks. There’s nothing deeper to draw from this kind of contest. Out-sized, out-talented, out-hustled, and out-muscled...PLUS the Lakers shot twice Portland’s percentage on threes. Forget the analysis. There’s no way the Blazers could stay on the court. Frankly, they’re probably glad to be off it.
Hopefully there will be better days ahead. This was not one of them.
Portland gets another chance, facing the Atlanta Hawks at home on Monday night at 7:00 PM, Pacific.