No need for an in-depth, drawn out summary to this game. The Lakers lost to the Blazers 107 – 96 to drop their record to 4-4 on the year. And while the final margin was 11 points, the real difference in this contest was the 14 point differential in 3rd quarter scoring where the Lakers were outscored 32-18. Some numbers from that 12 minutes of misery:
- The Lakers shot 5-20 while missing all 4 of their 3 point attempts (which would be a theme for the night). Their only salvation from a scoring department was that they sunk all 8 of their FT attempts.
- The Lakers turned the ball over 4 times in the 12 minutes which led to 6 Blazers points.
- Where the Lakers had gone inside for the majority of their buckets in the 1st half, the third quarter saw more jumpshots and, subsequently, more Blazer run outs for baskets in early offense.
- Meanwhile, the Blazers took a page from the Lakers’ handbook and went to the rim for their buckets, scoring 20 of their 32 points in the paint that period.
- Gerald Wallace (who was fantastic on the night) led the way in this quarter, making all 4 of his FG’s and 2 of his 3 FT’s for 10 points that were mostly the product of hustle and pure attacking.
I could go on and on, but you get the point. In a period that the Lakers have actually done quite well so far this season, they had their hats handed to them and got buried in a hole that they could not climb out of the rest of the game. Portland proved to be too deep, have too many athletes that could both run the floor, defend, and create shots for themselves, and they had a crowd that carried them the entire 2nd half.
When Portland needed to hit a shot, Jamal Crawford would create off the dribble or he’d run a high P&R that ended up with LaMarcus Aldridge getting a jumper and both simply couldn’t miss down the stretch. Ultimately, you have to tip your cap to the Blazers as they made all the shots, played inspired D in the 2nd half, and simply rode the momentum wave to a good victory.
From the Lakers standpoint, this loss is a setback and a game that, in some ways is tough to swallow. Not because they were the better team and gave the game away (they surely weren’t tonight). But rather because this team simply can’t seem to build any momentum and get on any sort of roll that they can build on. The Houston game was hard fought but the Lakers found a bit of their stride with Kobe, Bynum, and Gasol all having good nights. Tonight was a good chance for them to build on that but they could only do so for the first 24 minutes of the game. In the 2nd half, they simply couldn’t string anything together and now it’s like their solid play was a week ago. In a short season like this, it’s important to try and seize the moment when you can in order to build some momentum and after 8 games the Lakers haven’t found a way to do it yet.
Tomorrow though, offers another chance.