After a nine point lead at half-time The Los Angeles Lakers second half collapse leads Trailblazers to victory.
The Lakers took on the Trailblazers in Portland on Thursday night trying to steal a game on the road. The Purple and Gold were coming off a dominant victory over the Memphis Grizzlies and they hoped to continue their stellar play.
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The Blazers took the lead early on and didn’t falter. Damian Lillard led the way for them, showing no signs of rust while scoring 10 points in eight minutes. Lillard was then forced to the bench after earning two early fouls. Timofey Mozgov had an impressive start for Los Angeles scoring seven points and grabbing five boards. The Lakers struggled offensively going through a cold stretch where they missed six consecutive shots. The only source they had for offense at the time was the free throw line. The quarter ended with Portland up 29-24.
LA’s bench came out hot early going on a 13-0 run to start the second. This gave them a 37-29 lead. Thomas Robinson came in and made an immediate impact off the bench, getting a quick steal that lead to a breakaway dunk. The Robinson-Black tandem seems to be working out since its original appearance. The team also got good contributions from Russell, Clarkson, and Ingram in the first half. All three finished in double figures. Jordan Clarkson led the way for The Purple and Gold with 13 points and three made triples. Lillard continued to lead his side and he finished the half with 15 points and four assists but the Lakers led at the end of two, 62-53.
The teams were even in a lot of statistical categories at halftime. Both teams finished with 19 rebounds and 10 dimes as well as turning the ball over five times. Their field goal percentage was also dead-even at 44. The major difference at the half was the major imbalance in free throws. LA went 13/15 from the line while Portland went just 3/8. Los Angeles was +10 in that department which could explain their nine point lead at the half
The Trailblazers came out on an 8-0 run to start the second half. The third quarter went back and forth as Portland managed to tie the score at one point before Los Angeles took the lead back. C.J. McCollum exploded in the third quarter and finished it with 18 points. Los Angeles was unable to
slow the team down from three and Portland took advantage. The Trailblazers cranked up their defense this quarter. That along with their offense allowed them to outscore the Lakers by nine and tie the game at 84. Jordan Clarkson was carrying the offense for the team and he finished the quarter with 19 points. Lillard and McCullom finished with a combined 35 points through three.
The fourth was a back and forth affair, trading buckets and leads as the teams battled. D’angelo Russell played well in the final quarter, taking Dame to the post twice and making both turnaround shots. Russell was clearly more aggressive in the fourth scoring ten points in that quarter alone. The Blazers continued to fight back and took a four point lead off of a McCollum three pointer that energized the crowd before a time out.
In crunch time The Purple and Gold just couldn’t get it done. They took a lot of bad shots and they turned over the ball. LA failed to hit a field goal for four minutes in crunch time. That’s way too long to go cold against the potent duo of Lillard and McCollum. The Trailblazers took advantage and took the game, 116-108.
C.J. McCollum finished with 27 points and he was huge in the second half. Lillard had a quiet 21 points for the game after scoring 10 in the first alone. Russell led the team in scoring with 22 points, Clarkson close behind him with 21. Randle had the best all around stat line despite a poor shooting night. He finished with 17 points, nine rebounds, and five assists.
The Lakers need to find a way to play as well in the second half as they do in the first. This has been a common theme for this team thus far. They get big leads in the first half before completely imploding in the second.
The reason for this loss? Poor defense. The Trailblazers were at 44 percent from the field in the first half. They finished it at 53. The Lakers defense was good in the first half but completely fell apart in the second half.
Evan Turner averages only 9.3 points per game. 9.3. Los Angeles let the man drop 20 on them. If they want to win games they cant let the opposing teams stars and role players go off.